Celebrating a year of hope
From recognizing the special moments that took place to focusing on what we're striving to achieve in the future, 2018 brought plenty to reflect on.
The holiday season again fills me with wonder for all that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, together with you, our amazing supporters, can accomplish in a year. So much happened in 2018 to further Danny Thomas’ dream that "no child should die in the dawn of life," and I am deeply grateful for all of you and your unwavering generosity.
Throughout the year, I have the good fortune of meeting and getting to know the kids who are the “why” behind Danny’s dream and the reason St. Jude researchers and caregivers will never rest.
Kids like Colin, whom I was blessed to call a friend. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was just 2 years old and, though he fought bravely, he sadly lost his battle in May. He was just 10 years old. Colin, and too many like him, are the reason your commitment means so much to St. Jude every year.
Colin dreamed of becoming a policeman, so his hometown police department made him an honorary officer, and his funeral featured an honor guard with people from all over lining the procession route to say farewell.
Memories of Colin united a community that stretched from upstate New York to the home of St. Jude in Memphis, Tenn. This is how deeply Colin and his family touched us all.
Those kinds of unifying moments remind us the human spirit is indeed alive and well. I was reminded again just two weeks ago when 26,000 participants, including nearly 900 patient family members, came together for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend®.
It’s our largest single-day event of the year and raised more than $11 million for the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.
I firmly believe coming together for a cause in this way has a far greater impact than the money raised. It makes the world a better place and gives those in their darkest hour a beacon of hope.
The Links Foundation shined that light this year with a $1 million grant — the first it’s given to a health care nonprofit — to increase education of sickle cell disease in the United States and in some of the poorest countries on the planet.
A partnership with the World Health Organization announced this year, along with the launch of St. Jude Global, will help revolutionize the care and treatment of the more than 300,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year around the globe.
This revolution is an imperative for St. Jude — we’ve helped develop treatments that pushed childhood cancer survival rates from 20% to more than 80% in the U.S. — while those in developing countries remain below 20%. We have a responsibility to change this, and bold new initiatives will help shrink the world, so we can more easily extend a helping hand to the kids and families who need it most. St. Jude has set the audacious goal of seeking to raise the survival rates for the six most common forms of childhood cancer to 60% around the world by 2030.
From the 65 St. Jude Walk/Runs to End Childhood Cancer throughout the country to our dozens of dinners, golf tournaments and gala events this year, the human spirit was evident within each of you. And this holiday season, the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign celebrates its 15th year of providing an opportunity for thousands to contribute to our mission while doing their holiday shopping, thanks to caring partners like Best Buy, Domino’s, Kmart, Kay Jewelers, HomeGoods and many more. Please remember to support these generous partners as you celebrate the holidays.
This union — our St. Jude family of supporters, donors, partners and volunteers — is what makes this time of year, and this mission, so special.
I thank you for your support in 2018 and wish you all a safe and happy holiday, and I look forward to what we can accomplish — together — in the new year.