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Volunteers have played an important role in the St. Jude mission for decades.
In 1956, St. Jude was merely a dream of entertainer and humanitarian Danny Thomas, who wanted to build a hospital for children stricken with catastrophic diseases. A group of women, known as the Ladies of St. Jude, supported his cause and formed a club that worked diligently in clerical and fundraising roles for the hospital’s construction. These pioneering women were the hospital’s first volunteer group and later worked in clinical areas, in the business office and other departments after St. Jude opened in 1962.
By then, Danny Thomas and a group of his Arab-American friends had established ALSAC, the fundraising entity with the sole purpose of raising funds to sustain operations at St. Jude. The group succeeded, thanks to the help of volunteers and friends who devoted their time, talents and expertise to support Thomas’ dream.
Other volunteer opportunities at St. Jude ensued when The Women’s Club and the St. Jude Auxiliary were formed in 1972 and 1985, respectively. These clubs fostered camaraderie and provided opportunities for men and women to assist in volunteer programs and activities that benefited St. Jude patients, families and staff.
Today, volunteers continue to commit countless hours to the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.
Volunteer clubs, students, parents and community members remain active in programs and activities such as providing meals to families at the Memphis Grizzlies House, participating in playtime with patients, leading knitting classes, participating in annual bazaar and book sales, and other fundraisers that help improve the quality of life for St. Jude patients and families.
They also host tours, volunteer in the gift shop and provide clerical assistance to staff. These hospital volunteers committed 37,000 hours to St. Jude last year under the direction of the hospital’s Volunteer Services staff.
In cities across the nation, volunteers actively support the hospital’s research and treatment programs through ALSAC fundraising activities such as Math-A-Thon®, radiothons, galas and other special events.
ALSAC coordinates more than 34,000 events annually through its regional offices, with the helping hands of more than 1 million volunteers nationwide.
Building on momentum from the first 50 years, the burgeoning volunteer network that supports St. Jude continues to thrive.
Volunteers give from the heart and demonstrate daily that one person can make a difference in the lives of many.