This month, tens of thousands of us joined together against a disease that threatens the lives of children every day. In nearly 60 cities around the country, we wore gold to help elevate awareness of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month as we walked or ran in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer.
With every step, we raised funds and awareness to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital continue to lead the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. With every step, we declared that, together, we can make a difference for kids with cancer, like my friend Adam, who inspires me daily.
Adam, who is now in college, had a tough fight against cancer. But that didn’t stop him from a plan to give back to St. Jude. Over the past few years, this young man has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for St. Jude through his network known as Adam’s Army. And, once again this year, his army of supporters took steps with all of us to end childhood cancer.
And, personally, I could not have been more moved by this incredible outpouring of support. I had the honor of being able to witness the amazing crowd – friends and neighbors, colleagues and patient families – who came to the St. Jude campus in Memphis from all around the area for this year’s event.
I also heard from many of you – from Seattle to New York – about how amazing each individual event was, and how inspiring it was to walk and run together for such an important mission.
But it is a mission that doesn’t stop just because the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer is over in your communities. It is a mission that lives not only during September’s recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but in every month of the year.
That’s because as many as 240,000 children around the globe could be diagnosed with cancer this year. And, while treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate in the U.S. to more than 80 percent, one in five children will still lose their lives to this disease. The number is even higher in countries where children may not have access to adequate diagnosis and care.
Frankly, this is unacceptable.
At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, we believe – as did our founder Danny Thomas – that no child should die in the dawn of life. At St. Jude, we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
So as September ends, let’s make this our year-round pledge: Let’s end childhood cancer. Together.