At the start of a new year, as I reflect on the achievements of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2016 and look ahead to the promise of 2017, I'm reminded once again that fulfilling our mission is only possible with support from friends like you.
In the last year, our scientists and doctors continued to lead the fight against childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, with new discoveries that could improve treatment for certain leukemias and brain tumors. Our patient care remained unparalleled with the opening of three remarkable new inpatient floors in the Kay Research and Care Center at St. Jude, designed completely with our families in mind. The care and creativity involved in planning these floors can be seen in the colorful, interactive and comfortable space that puts the needs of patients and families first.
On a more personal level, this past year marked incredible rites of passage for many of our patients, whether they were graduating from kindergarten or attending their first prom. We welcomed St. Jude survivors back to campus, as we do every year, to celebrate their lives with our wonderful Survivors Day event. We also joined St. Jude patients like Shon in recognizing personal milestones. We’ll never forget the night that Shon’s lifelong dream came true — and he returned to St. Jude to hear his name called in the draft of the National Football League.
Looking ahead to 2017 emphasizes how important the contributions of all of our donors and volunteers are to these accomplishments. It will cost nearly $1 billion to operate St. Jude this year, and more than 75 percent of that cost is covered by individual contributions produced by our fundraising programs. Every contribution counts as St. Jude makes progress in its bold vision to double the number of children in St. Jude-led clinical trials and expand the number of new cancer patients treated at St. Jude by 20 percent over the next several years.
As we begin this new year, I challenge all of us to take stock of our opportunities to touch the lives of others and resolve to use this year to make a real difference in the lives of those who need it most.
Perhaps you can make this the year you become a St. Jude Hero and raise funds and awareness for our work while participating in a half marathon, marathon or other fitness event. Or you can become a St. Jude Partner In Hope and pledge monthly support to St. Jude. No matter what your resolution is, you will make a real difference in the lives of St. Jude kids because dedicated donors and volunteers are the lifeblood of our mission: Finding cures. Saving children.®
On behalf of all the patients, families and staff of St. Jude, thank you for your commitment and best wishes for a blessed and happy New Year.