Carolyn Ayoub practically grew up with St. Jude.
A child when the hospital opened, Ayoub said supporting St. Jude was integral to her Lebanese-American family’s life in Brooklyn, New York In fact, Ayoub recalls her mother, Huguette Balit-Ayoub, doing volunteer work for the St. Jude Thrift Store in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. She would collect items from the neighborhood to sell at the store, with all proceeds going to St. Jude.
“Back then the area was heavily Lebanese-American, and everyone loved Danny Thomas,” Ayoub said. St. Jude founder Danny Thomas was the son of Lebanese immigrants. “My parents, Norman and Huguette, were always very generous and taught me to give back.”
Ayoub’s support of St. Jude has continued throughout her life. She became a monthly donor through the St. Jude Partner In Hope program in 1986. Additionally, she is the coordinator and one of the top fundraisers for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer in Asbury Park, New Jersey and volunteers during the Country Cares® for St. Jude Kids radiothon in her local community.
When Ayoub visited the hospital for the first time in 2015, she was especially touched to see her mother’s name engraved on the Legacy Wall, which recognizes donors who made the ultimate gift to St. Jude through a will, trust or other estate plan. The wall includes more than 4,800 names. Donors who let St. Jude know of their commitment to leave St. Jude in their will are also recognized as members of the Danny Thomas-St. Jude Society.
“I knew when I entered the hospital it would be an emotional and meaningful day," said Ayoub. "All the names on the Legacy Wall … my mom’s included!”
Ayoub was very close to her mother, whom she called “the best mother ever — very spiritual, gifted, smart and forgiving.” Now, like her mother, Ayoub is a member of the Danny Thomas-St. Jude Society because she has decided to make St. Jude a beneficiary in her will.
“I want to continue helping the children, just as she did.”