Last week I had the opportunity to visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and the experience was everything I thought it would be and then some. Mostly “then some.” For instance, I knew that St. Jude provided care and research for children battling cancer, and I figured that was enough in the best way possible. However, it turns out that my understanding of St. Jude was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and what I didn’t know could fill pages, and so it will. Don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you.
For starters, cancer isn’t the only childhood disease that they fight at St. Jude—they are researching and treating a number of childhood diseases—but cancer is the big one, and they have the best survival rate for childhood cancer patients in the world. Not only that, every single piece of research discovered at St. Jude is shared, for free, with everyone and anyone, which has resulted in the worldwide childhood cancer survival rate increasing dramatically over the past 50 years—from 20 to 80 percent, and the new goal is to reach 90 percent in the next decade. A 90 percent survival rate for childhood cancer? That’s the kind of work they do at St. Jude.
Perhaps equally impressive is the fact that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food. They believe that families should not have to worry about such things while helping their child live, and they are, obviously, right. St. Jude makes it all happen through donations and hard work, and it is an amazing, wonderful thing.
Speaking of wonderful, I had the opportunity to meet a few of the patients and their families during my visit, and I’ll be honest, I was braced for long bouts of open, ugly cries (mine), but the only tears I shed were the kind that fall silently from inspiration and gratitude. That isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of sad, tragic stories—I am sure that there have been too many over the years—but the overwhelming feeling in the air isn’t one of fear and despair, it is one of hope.
See for yourself:
And now we are to the part where you come in—you and your beautiful generosity.
This weekend kicks off the 11th annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign. There is something for everyone. The first event, the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk. is being held Saturday, November 22 in over 65 communities and there is still time to sign up!
St. Jude #ThanksandGiving Day is on November 24 and the goal is to see the hashtag trend organically for the second year in a row, and with it the awareness that follows.
And that’s not all! Through the end of December you can shop at participating retailers and make donations to St. Jude at the time of your purchase. It’s super easy.
There are a number of other ways to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and we’ll share them in upcoming posts, but for now give thanks and thanks for giving.