With the celebration of Mother’s Day fresh on my mind, I was reminded of a scene that recently unfolded on the campus of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital when video gamers from around the country came to St. Jude for our annual St. Jude Play LIVE Summit.
These talented gamers combine their passion for excelling at video games with their compassion for the kids of St. Jude. Our patients were treated to a wonderful afternoon of distraction and high-intensity video game play with some of their favorite personalities from TwitchTV. The kids obviously had a blast, their faces glowing with joy and excitement. But there was something else that was even more comforting than those smiles — the look on the faces of their mothers as they watched their children, shouting and laughing, their hands gripping their game controllers. And in those mothers’ eyes were relief and gratitude and hope.
St. Jude patient Azalea and her mom, Simone
Hope is something St. Jude has been giving to families for 55 years, and you can see it not only in Memphis, where St. Jude is located, but around the world through people dedicated to supporting and carrying on the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.
Just last month, two other events illustrate the hope that our volunteers and donors help bring to St. Jude families. In Nashville, Tennessee, thousands of runners, including 2,200 St. Jude Heroes, took to the streets to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude during the St. Jude Rock ‘N’ Roll Nashville Marathon event. Across the country, at the Boston Marathon, we were just as proud to cheer on 10 St. Jude Heroes who ran this storied race to support our mission. We are so grateful to every St. Jude Hero for their commitment and the hope they help bring to families facing some of the toughest times of their lives.
St. Jude patient Hannah and her mom, Chandra
I was also fortunate to travel recently to the Middle East to visit the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon, a partner with St. Jude in the global fight against childhood cancer. When I was there, I saw children displaced by war and neglect, struggling against unthinkable odds. But what continued to touch me was the same thing I saw in the faces of the mothers of St. Jude in Memphis: relief and gratitude and hope.
Thanks to your support, St. Jude can continue the groundbreaking research and exceptional care that is making a difference in the lives of desperately ill children — and bringing smiles to the faces of their mothers everywhere.