St. Jude founder Danny Thomas believed that no child should be turned away — no matter their race, creed or finances.

Hope for all

ALSAC President and CEO Richard C. Shadyac Jr. reflects on the inclusive spirit of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas and the opening of the hospital in 1962.

 

In February 1962, when Danny Thomas opened the doors of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the first time, he was surrounded by children.

They had different racial and ethnic backgrounds. They came from different financial circumstances and practiced different religions. And absolutely none of that would matter if they needed to be treated at St. Jude.

This was Danny’s promise — that a child’s race or creed, or the amount of money their family had in a bank account, would not determine if that child could be treated at St. Jude. And once accepted as a patient, their family would never receive a bill from St. Jude for anything.

This month we celebrate the anniversary of the opening of St. Jude — and a promise kept by each and every one of you who are so passionately committed to our mission.

 

Danny Thomas believed that no child should be turned away because of their race or creed or how much money their family had in their bank account

Our donors and volunteers are truly the lifeblood of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Without your generosity and dedication, St. Jude could not provide treatment or support the needs of our patient families without charging them.

St. Jude would not be able to pursue the research that has led to an overall survival rate of more than 80% for childhood cancer in this country.

If you did not support St. Jude, we would not have the resources or the confidence to embark on a multi-billion dollar expansion plan that will mean new research and clinical care facilities, housing for more patients and a global initiative that will help children all over the world.

Danny’s guiding belief in building a research hospital that would take on cancer and other life-threatening childhood diseases was that “no child should die in the dawn of life.”

Danny Thomas and his daughter, Marlo Thomas, with a patient

Danny Thomas and his daughter, Marlo Thomas, with a patient

And Danny meant just that — no child, no matter their race or their creed or their finances. And no matter where they happened to live.

There are few words as devastating as those that tell parents their child has cancer. And yet this year, between 180,000 and 240,000 children around the world will be diagnosed with cancer.

For many of them today, it might as well be 1962, the year St. Jude opened, because they will not have access to adequate diagnosis and care.

Even in our own country — with a survival rate of more than 80% — 1 in 5 children diagnosed with cancer will not survive.

This is what your support of St. Jude means — hope for families who had none, research and treatment that is advancing cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, and a chance for children diagnosed with these diseases to survive and grow up.

You are the keepers of Danny’s promise. Thank you.

 

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

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