It has been a tremendous year for all of us at ALSAC (the fundraising and awareness organization of St. Jude) and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as we’ve wrapped our arms further around the world. With the help of dedicated and generous supporters, St. Jude has managed to impact more lives than ever before and, in doing so, create a global community united behind the singular mission of finding cures and saving children.
This community was epitomized in Athens, Greece, just last month where Lexie Johnston, while on a volunteer trip with her church, decided to run the Athens Marathon and wear a St. Jude shirt. Along the route, she was stopped four times by runners who recognized the child logo but didn’t speak English. They communicated with Lexie through hugs and high fives, and one woman made a cradle motion with her hands as though rocking a baby, pointed at the iconic logo and then at her own heart.
The last person spoke English, said he was from Mississippi and living in Germany, and that St. Jude had saved his nephew. Lexie said, “In a whole new way, I realized the impact of St. Jude as a global symbol of hope.”
Beautiful examples of community were seen in Greece, and also mirrored at the St. Jude Memphis Marathon where Adam Cruthirds completed a goal he set for himself as a 16-year-old patient at St. Jude — raising $1 million. Seeing the now 21-year-old cross the finish line after running his first full marathon and into the arms of his mom and the mother of Carson, Adam’s good friend who, sadly, did not survive her cancer, was nothing less than inspirational. But Adam is quick to say the money raised was a community effort, the work of an extended family known as Adam’s Army.
Family extends throughout St. Jude. This year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our partnership with Tri Delta, as well as 20 years of Target House. Because of places like Target House and Tri Delta Place, families are able to stay together during treatment and care for their sick children with a community to lean on. And because of the generosity of donors, they never receive a bill for their stay.
Shaurya and his family traveled more than 8,000 miles from India for his care, leaving their support system behind, but found other families in a similar situation while at Target House. Shaurya’s mom said, “We keep giving strength to each other and we live as one big family unit . . . it just feels normal.”
That normalcy is what you, our supporters, are able to give kids through community and partnership. They were celebrated throughout 2019 — from the global sports community coming together for the inaugural WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational to our partnership with the music industry and 30 years of St. Jude Country Cares radiothons. All of you — our supporters here and around the world — make up a family, a community of caring and generosity that does nothing short of saving kids’ lives.
As we look to the weeks and months ahead, and further into 2020 for more events, new partnerships and even more life-saving opportunities, we say thank you on behalf of everyone at ALSAC and St. Jude for your continued dedication and support, and for helping St. Jude become a true global symbol of hope.
Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.
When you donate, your gift means 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.