A century of caring

Eugenia Bumpass has known about St. Jude from the very beginning. She even had the opportunity to meet St. Jude founder Danny Thomas on a visit to the hospital in the 1960s, leading to a lifetime of helping the children of St. Jude.

I love to hear about the wonderful progress the hospital is making, especially since I’ve known about it from the beginning.

Eugenia Bumpass, lifelong St. Jude supporter

When St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital supporter Eugenia Bumpass was born in 1915, a child diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) had virtually no hope of survival. Thanks to generous people like her, St. Jude has increased the survival rates for ALL — the most common childhood cancer — from 4 percent before opening in 1962 to 94 percent today. 

Education is the cornerstone of 101-year-old Eugenia’s life.  She spent her career serving children as a school teacher and librarian in Louisa County, Virginia, where she lived her entire life. She also serves as the “official” historian of Louisa County and helped raise the money to build the first public library there, which opened in 1999. She has also written a book about Louisa County and is a founding member of the local historical society.

In the 1960s, on a trip to the West Coast, Eugenia stopped in Memphis to see a new research hospital called St. Jude, where she met legendary entertainer Danny Thomas, the hospital’s founder. “His dream made the hospital a reality,” she said.

 

Although she had no children, Eugenia thinks of her students and the children of St. Jude as her own. “I love to hear about the wonderful progress the hospital is making, especially since I’ve known about it from the beginning,” she said.

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Eugenia has left a bequest in her will for the children of St. Jude and she says, “I’m happy to be a part of the good work the hospital does and support it in any way that I can.”