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Helping Danny’s dream become reality

Danny Thomas had an inspired vision that would become St. Jude. ALSAC President and CEO Richard C. Shadyac Jr. reflects on the progress made, and how supporters like you are helping us prepare for the future. 

It was only a few weeks ago that our nation commemorated Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It was a time to reflect on our fight against childhood cancer and to celebrate the great progress St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has made in our mission: Finding cures. Saving children.®

However, we recognize our critical work needs to continue as cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in children in the United States and 1 in 5 children with cancer still do not win their battle. Around the globe, between 180,000 and 240,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer, many of them without access to the care they so desperately need.

The survival rate in some of these countries is below 20% and 4 in 5 children will die. That is simply unacceptable to us and that is why, today, I want to thank you for supporting our mission and for giving St. Jude the resources to take this fight to the next level. 

Joe Luther at a construction site on the St. Jude campus

The construction that's taking place on the St. Jude campus will allow for greater impact to children experiencing cancer and other life threatening diseases.

You may have read that St. Jude is in the midst of a multi-billion dollar expansion to impact more children with cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Our doctors and scientists are already taking dramatic strides to advance our clinical care. We are increasing the number of patients treated at St. Jude and have plans to double the number of patients being treated on St. Jude-led clinical trials.

We opened the St. Jude Red Frog Proton Therapy Center, the world’s only proton therapy center dedicated solely to children; opened three, new state-of-the-art patient care floors in the Kay Research and Care Center as part of the ongoing commitment to provide unsurpassed patient care; expanded the St. Jude LIFE study, the world’s largest study of pediatric cancer survivors, to nearly 5,000 survivors of childhood cancer to define risk factors, monitor the long-term side effects of cancer and improve quality of life; and significantly expanded the St. Jude Sickle Cell Clinical Research and Intervention Program to study acute complications experienced by patients transitioning to adult care.

And, in addition to all of these initiatives, St. Jude is developing ambitious plans to expand our global efforts to impact more children around the world fighting cancer.


The St. Jude Red Frog Proton Therapy Center is the world’s only proton therapy center dedicated solely to children.

On the research front, we are seeing equally exciting progress. St. Jude has announced significant research advancements impacting patients with solid tumors, brain tumors, leukemias, sickle cell disease and infectious diseases, among others. Cutting-edge research facilities are in the works to further explore the origins of childhood cancer and drive better treatments.

A new world-class Data Center will support these efforts as well as our St. Jude Cancer Predisposition Program, which identifies children who are at increased genetic risk for cancer through genomic sequencing. And just this year, as part of the commitment to develop and educate the next generation of scientific leaders, St. Jude established the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

This is just the beginning of our commitment to advance our mission of finding cures and saving children. In total, we are investing $9 billion over 6 years to support and operate St. Jude and to expand our lifesaving mission. You can read the latest about these plans in the summer 2017 issue of Promise magazine.

In short, the dedicated faculty and staff of St. Jude are as committed today as they have been since the beginning of our mission to find the cures that will end the scourge of childhood cancer and other diseases that threaten the lives of children everywhere. Without the resources provided by generous and caring donors and volunteers like you, we could not dare to undertake such bold new plans. Your support enables us to dream, and thanks to you, St. Jude has become the leading private funder of pediatric cancer research.

I know that together, we can reach the day that Danny dreamed of: a day when no child will die in the dawn of life.


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

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