Brittany Hebert hasn’t met a challenge yet she wasn’t up for tackling.
While growing up in a small, rural town in South Louisiana, life began handing Hebert some serious lemons. Her father became disabled, struggled with PTSD and her parents subsequently divorced. This was followed by her mother’s drug addiction, father’s depression, grandfather’s heart attack, and a house fire from which she only narrowly escaped. Through it all, Hebert helped support and raise her brother, while managing the household and finishing high school. Hebert found her optimism with the help of people, her continued persistence, a passion for life and faith in God.
In 2007, after accepting a challenge to raise $10,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Hebert began a nonprofit organization, Sky High For Kids, which is dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer and other life threatening diseases. Hebert went a step further when she and a handful of girlfriends hosted Sky High’s first event, a sporting clay tournament, which raised $50,000. Shortly after, Hebert was offered a job in Houston where she found herself in a new city, with a new career path, and a desire to expand her newly formed nonprofit to Texas.
By 2012, Hebert had landed a meeting with Eric F. Trump, founder of the nonprofit formerly known as The Eric Trump Foundation, now rebranded as Curetivity. After becoming fast friends due to their similar passion for ending childhood cancer, “Over a handshake and a glass of ice tea,” as Hebert tells it, she secured a partnership to help fund the Eric Trump Foundation Surgery and ICU Center at St. Jude. In 2013, Sky High expanded into San Antonio and hosted its first sporting clay tournament which included entertainment from country music artist Big & Rich. With the support of Anadarko Petroleum, this kicked off fundraising for their $5 million partnership commitment.
Hebert was been named the 2016 Houston Business Journal 40 under 40, the 2014 St. Jude Houston Gala Guest of Honor, and has served on the boards of the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis, Curetivity and Texas Children’s Cancer Center Advisory Board. Today, this big-hearted philanthropist is a motivational speaker, CEO of Sky High and a nonprofit consultant.
What was it about St. Jude that inspired you to start Sky High For Kids?
When I first visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, I shared a bowl of gumbo with a young patient, Dalton, who hadn’t eaten in the days following his chemotherapy treatments. I was 15 years old and did not understand why this was happening to children so close in age to me. That moment sparked the desire for me to do something larger than myself, to help these children who deserved to live their full lives. The need was undeniable.
How has partnering with the Eric Trump Foundation helped Sky High’s mission?
Sky High funded three rooms within The Eric Trump Surgery and ICU Center at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with our partner, Curetivity (formerly known as the Eric Trump Foundation). It’s allowed us to impact 7,200+ patients that have been treated there since the facility opened in 2015. This partnership allowed us to make a greater impact at St. Jude than we were already making!
What was your most memorable moment from the fundraiser in San Antonio?
There are a lot of memorable moments from that weekend fundraiser and a lot of people that pulled together to make it all happen but one moment sticks out the most to me. We invite pediatric cancer patients to all of our internal events and we had a patient, Brooks, present at this specific event. It was one of his dreams to meet country music artists Big & Rich and he was able to do so since they were headlining the event. Unfortunately, Brooks lost his battle with cancer following the event but the memory of being present to see one of his dreams come true will never leave me.
What’s the best advice you give during your motivational speeches?
Put your passion into action, never give up and do things that are bigger than yourself.
Cover photo courtesy Brittany Hebert
Austinite Lisa Davis is the Editorial Assistant for Texas Lifestyle Magazine and honors graduate from Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations.