Danny's dream

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Danny Thomas with fellow comedian Jack Benny and the architectural drawing of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.Danny Thomas gets a hug from a St. Jude patient.
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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital was born in the desperate prayer of struggling entertainer Danny Thomas. Searching for a sign that he was on the right career path, he asked St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, "Show me my place in life and I will build you a shrine." That promise became St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the answer to the prayers of many families whose children were stricken with deadly diseases such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

When St. Jude opened in 1962, the survival rate for ALL was 4 percent. Danny dreamed of a day when such diseases would be conquered and that "no child should die in the dawn of life."


Danny's dream continues to take shape in the 21st century. Fifty years after opening, St. Jude has helped improved the survival rate of childhood cancer from 20 percent to 80 percent. And ALL, the disease with a virtual death sentence in 1962, now has a survival rate of 94 percent.

That means children who five decades ago would have died are alive. They've grown up, graduated high schools and colleges. They've gotten married, had children and are changing the world around them every day.

And as great as the strides are that St. Jude has made, the hospital's work—and Danny's—is not complete.

The next 50 years holds great promise for the improvement of survival rates for childhood cancers. Individualized therapies. Mapping the pediatric cancer genome. These are just two of the tools being developed today that will help the scientists of tomorrow push the search for cures for pediatric cancers to new heights.

Support St. Jude today and be part of the future that Danny dreamed of, a future where "no child should die in the dawn of life."

Donate now.