St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20% when we first opened our doors in 1962 to more than 80% today. We won't stop until no child dies from cancer.
Charley underwent five rounds of chemotherapy at St. Jude, all while remaining enrolled in college and maintaining her GPA to keep her scholarship. She credits the Child Life specialists for helping her to manage her biggest fear — needles.
“The specialists just talked the entire time I was getting a procedure like a spinal tap, and kept my mind off the fact that a big needle was going in my back,” she said.
As of March 2018, Charley’s scans show no signs of cancer. And she’s got a plan now for that psychology degree she continues to pursue.
While she’s taking on her sophomore year of college, Charley’s St. Jude experience stays top of mind. She visits St. Jude for checkups, and continues to go deeper with her philanthropy.
“It’s cool learning about the different aspects of the hospital even when I’m done with treatment,” she said.
She recently volunteered in the St. Jude Garden, preparing beds for planting and learning how the garden grows fresh foods for patients.
“I thought the garden was really great even though I never took advantage of it,” Charley laughed. “When I was inpatient, I mostly had bacon and biscuits, or macaroni. And I put ketchup on everything because it made me able to taste things when I mostly could not taste anything.”
This year, Charley has renewed her Up ‘til Dawn efforts with a fervor.
Charley will celebrate the 2018 Up ‘til Dawn finale on her birthday, the first anniversary of her cancer diagnosis. To date, her team is the top fundraiser for her college.
“It’s cool to see all of my friends put in so much effort towards something that means so much to me. They’re invested in St. Jude, since they’ve seen firsthand where the money goes.”