As I reflect back on the achievements of 2017 and welcome the promise of a new year, I am reminded that the critical work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is only possible because of the caring hearts and compassion of all of you who support our mission.
It is because of your generosity that we have the resources to continue to learn more about some of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer — knowledge that could lead to more and better treatments for these diseases.
It is because of your compassion that we can continue our founder’s promise that no family will receive a bill from St. Jude for anything — not for treatment for their child and not for travel, housing or food while they are at St. Jude.
And it is your devotion and passion for our mission that allows us to dream big and take the fight against life-threatening childhood diseases like cancer and sickle cell disease to the next level.
When Danny Thomas founded the hospital in 1962, the overall childhood cancer survival rate was just 20%. Today, that number is more than 80%.
Thanks to you, we are now in the midst of an exciting, multi-billion dollar expansion plan, announced in 2015, that includes research and clinical care facilities, housing for more patients and a global plan that will help children around the world.
And while we have made great progress since opening in 1962 — when the overall childhood survival rate was just 20% — there is still much work to be done. Between 180,000 and 240,000 children across the globe will be diagnosed with cancer this year, many of them without access to adequate treatment or care. And in our own country, one in five children diagnosed with cancer will lose their battle.
The faculty and staff at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are dedicated to changing those statistics, to finding the cures for diseases that threaten the lives of children everywhere. And thanks to the support of generous and caring donors and volunteers like you, St. Jude will continue to lead the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
That is our commitment to desperately ill children around the world — and to those of you who support St. Jude — that we will do all we can, through research and treatment, to save children’s lives. Because one life lost is one too many.
Thank you for all that you do for the kids of St. Jude — and for children everywhere.