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by Daisy Fuentes
I have led a pretty successful life by most people’s standards. I’ve hosted and been a guest star on several television shows and enjoyed a prosperous modeling career, but nothing has meant more to me than my involvement with the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Although I’d always heard about St. Jude, my involvement with the hospital began when Marlo Thomas, daughter of hospital founder Danny Thomas, invited me to attend a fund-raising event in Los Angeles. St. Jude soon found a special place in my heart.
In 1998, I had the opportunity to visit the hospital. I didn’t know what to expect, so I have to admit I was initially shocked to see the children with no hair and wearing masks. But once I saw the facility and visited with the kids and their families, I realized that St. Jude is a place where miracles happen every day.
During that visit, I met several families with whom I have kept in contact. One patient I met was Jessica, a 9-year-old girl with a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She had lost her hair from chemotherapy, but she didn’t let that get in the way of her bubbly personality. I learned from Jessica and many other children that St. Jude is a happy place, and that despite what they’re going through, the kids are okay there.
I recently received a letter from Jessica, who is now 14. She included a picture with the letter, and I couldn’t believe it was the same little girl I’d met a few years earlier. She looked like a supermodel! In that moment, I knew that my commitment to St. Jude was worthwhile.
I believe everyone has a purpose in life, and mine is to educate the community about St. Jude. I am fortunate to be able to work with an organization dedicated to such a noble cause.
The one message I would like to get across to people is that you don’t have to close your eyes to what these children are facing. As tragic as it is to know that a child is suffering from a catastrophic disease, it’s very important to see what’s going on at St. Jude. Once you see it, you realize that there is hope and that we need to do what we can to feed that hope.
It’s just amazing to witness the mission of the hospital and to see the number of kids being saved from such devastating diseases. St. Jude is truly an amazing place.
Daisy Fuentes has served as a TV news anchor, attracted a large following as a VJ on MTV, hosted a talk show and worked as a worldwide spokesmodel for Revlon. Also a soap opera and film star, Fuentes is a loyal St. Jude supporter, helping the hospital through promotional and fund-raising campaigns.