ALSAC/ St. Jude CEO Richard Shadyac Jr. and patient Tyler

Making a difference

Introducing a new monthly column from ALSAC/St. Jude President and CEO, Richard Shadyac Jr. Read his special take on the historic beginnings of St. Jude.

Fifty-four years ago this month, our founder, Danny Thomas, opened the doors to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

A very special diverse group of children joined him — these children represented Danny’s promise that race, religion and financial circumstances would never be a factor in whether a child was treated at St. Jude.

I am often reminded of the lasting impact of Danny’s vision for St. Jude at this time of year. Not only do we mark the anniversary of the founding of St. Jude, but this year, we also note the 25th anniversary of the passing of our founder.  And we take time to honor the extraordinary contributions of St. Jude to desegregation in Memphis during Black History Month.

When you think about it, Danny’s promise truly set St. Jude apart from most other institutions at that time, especially in the segregated South. This was a promise that was proudly and boldly kept by all of us, from those who first raised money to build this hospital, to everyone who so generously supports our lifesaving mission today.

So many of you — from all walks of life and all races, religions and creeds — have become an essential part of our St. Jude family. Your caring and generosity keep Danny’s promise alive, funding groundbreaking research into cures and world-class care for our patients whose families will never receive a bill from St. Jude for anything.

 

But we won’t rest on this powerful legacy. St. Jude doctors and scientists are committed to finding cures for cancer, sickle cell disease and other diseases that threaten the lives of children, as well as enhancing the quality of life for survivors.  

We can all make a difference in this important work. Thank you to everyone who participated earlier this month in our inaugural St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event, honoring Black History Month, and those who are a part of our St. Jude Sunday of Hope campaign. I sincerely hope that you all will explore the many ways you can get involved and support our lifesaving mission.

On behalf of everyone at St. Jude, thank you for all you do for the kids of St. Jude.

You, too, can make a difference for St. Jude kids.

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