When Jerrika Hinton played a doctor on the popular TV drama Grey’s Anatomy, viewers may not have known how much of the role was inspired by her own life. Her character — who was motivated to go into healthcare as a result of having sickle cell disease — was loosely based on Hinton’s cousin.
When Hinton visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the guest panelist for the annual St. Jude Gold Luncheon, the inspiration continued as the actress was moved by the hospital’s holistic approach to healthcare.
“When I got to see more in depth how St. Jude works, I just walked away going, ‘Why isn’t the whole world like this?’” Hinton said at the luncheon, which raises money for St. Jude while celebrating philanthropic women in Memphis and surrounding communities.
Now in its fourth year, the St. Jude Gold Luncheon has raised nearly $250,000, and is in the process of expanding from a regional to national event. This year’s luncheon honored 16 Memphis women, who raised a collective $65,000 for St. Jude in connection with the event. As the guest speaker, Hinton spoke about why she supports St. Jude.
After spending five years playing a character who had sickle cell disease, Hinton found herself inspired by the way St. Jude treats pediatric catastrophic diseases.
“It moves me so deeply, the holistic approach to what health can look like in these circumstances,” Hinton said. “It’s about the patient’s well-being, but it’s also about the family well-being and your spiritual well-being, and how all of those elements really work together and have an effect on the patient and how the treatment succeeds.”
After receiving a tour of the hospital, Hinton’s appreciation of St. Jude was strengthened.
“It’s designed with the patients in mind, and that was immediately evident and striking,” Hinton said. “This is what I want for the whole world.”
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