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Eyes closed, Carrie-Lynn can feel the last notes of her song hanging in the air. There's a pause, and then the audience breaks into enthusiastic applause. Carrie-Lynn's eyes open and scan the crowd. She can almost distinguish the proud cheers of her mom and dad from her place on stage.
At a young age, it was already apparent that Carrie-Lynn had a gift for calypso and gospel singing. By the time she turned 11, she had won local awards in her home country of Barbados for her beautiful voice.
In 2012, Carrie-Lynn was excitedly planning her next calypso competition. But she never got to compete. Instead, Carrie-Lynn was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Her parents wondered if she would ever compete again.
The family traveled to New York seeking treatment, but time and again, they were turned away because their insurance was rejected. Each hospital they contacted in New York and other parts of the United States wanted a hefty deposit.
That’s when they turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where not only was no deposit required, but Carrie-Lynn and her family will never receive a bill for treatment, housing, travel or food.
Carrie-Lynn’s father still had reservations. "They show St. Jude commercials in Barbados, so I knew of St. Jude, but we had no support system here," he says. "I worried we’d feel isolated from our family when we needed them most."
But once the family traveled to St. Jude, they were able to find the sense of home they were looking for as doctors worked quickly to make Carrie-Lynn better.
At St. Jude, we have patients from around the world because distance shouldn’t dictate the quality of care a child receives. St. Jude has also worked to give doctors everywhere a free online meeting place for clinical discussions of diseases with our innovative Cure4Kids website, bringing the latest medical knowledge on the treatment of deadly childhood diseases to healthcare providers in countries with limited access to information and resources.
Cure4Kids is truly a global village, where health professionals can find lifesaving information any time of the day or night. By sharing our research and technology with the world at large, St. Jude is directly improving outcomes for children like Carrie-Lynn in communities everywhere and around the globe.
Carrie-Lynn remembers that moment on stage and has promised to sing for her doctors once she gets better. She and her parents live for that day.