Little Chloe Tuttle has lived on two continents and can speak three languages. But perhaps this 2-year-old twin’s most amazing accomplishment is her courageous battle with the brain tumor ependymoma. That is a fight Chloe is winning so far—thanks to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
At 11 months old, Chloe moved with her family from Florida to China because of her parents’ jobs. Not long afterward, her mother and father, Lynda and Alex, noticed Chloe tilting her head to the left. Several doctors’ appointments in China yielded no answers. During a trip back to the U.S., tests revealed a brain tumor. Chloe underwent an operation at a Florida hospital to remove the tumor, but doctors there weren’t sure what else could be done.
Then Lynda saw a St. Jude program on television.
“As soon as I saw St. Jude, I told Alex, ‘That’s where we’re going,’” Lynda says.
After obtaining a referral to St. Jude, Chloe underwent two more brain surgeries to remove tumor growth and received chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Although Chloe and her mom had to live away from her dad and twin sister, Hanna, during treatment, the assistance of St. Jude made the transition easier.
“At St. Jude, we had a place to stay, we had a meal card, a way to get around,” Lynda says. “That meant so much for us. Here, we had support.”
Now out of treatment and having regular checkups, Chloe is taking part in one of the hospital’s largest fundraising and awareness programs: the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign. This union of celebrities, media, retail and corporate partners asks consumers to donate during the holiday season and to join St. Jude in finding cures and saving children.
Created by Marlo, Terre and Tony Thomas, the children of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas, the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign has raised more than $488 million since its inception in 2004.
“We have been blessed to have the extraordinary support from our wonderful donors, our loving celebrity friends and our dedicated corporate partners,” says Marlo, national outreach director for St. Jude. “I am so proud and happy that they are part of the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign. Their support means so much to children like Chloe and their moms and dads, and helps us stay true to my father’s founding promise that families never receive a bill from St. Jude—for treatment, travel, housing or food—because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
“I am grateful for their generous spirit and compassion to help St. Jude raise the funds that allow us to continue our mission of finding cures and saving children’s lives.”
Partners in the mission
Corporate partners for the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign include Kmart, CVS/Pharmacy, Ann Taylor, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kay Jewelers, Domino’s, Williams-Sonoma Inc., GNC, HomeGoods, AutoZone, New York & Company and Brooks Brothers, to name a few.
Beginning in November, shoppers will see the St. Jude logo identifying retailers who are raising funds for St. Jude to help children like Chloe.
Kmart was again the top fundraising partner for the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign in 2013, raising a record-breaking $21.9 million. Since becoming a corporate partner in 2006, Kmart has raised more than $59.2 million for the children of St. Jude—more than any corporate partner in history. This year, the building that houses the St. Jude LIFE study and the After Completion of Therapy Clinic Presented by Kmart was renamed The Kmart St. Jude Life Center.
New partners in the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign this year include The Limited and longtime St. Jude supporter Chili’s® Grill & Bar, a partner that raised more than $50 million over 10 years for the St. Jude mission.
Williams-Sonoma Inc., a 10-year veteran of the campaign, brings two new brands to the program this year: Rejuvenation, and Mark and Graham. Both will offer specialty merchandise during the campaign.
Spreading the word
The St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign also enjoys the support of celebrity friends Jennifer Aniston, Sofia Vergara, Michael Strahan and Latin GRAMMY winner Luis Fonsi, who join Marlo and St. Jude patients in TV spots. These celebrities also are in a movie trailer that shares the St. Jude story nationwide in theaters including Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Theatres, Cinemark USA, Carmike Cinemas and many others.
The campaign is supported with a national media blitz that includes TV appearances by Marlo and St. Jude patients. In what has become a holiday tradition, Marlo will appear on NBC’s TODAY show for five consecutive days during Thanksgiving week to share inspiring stories about patients and the hospital’s lifesaving work.
The St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign wouldn’t be complete without the official kick-off event, the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk™, scheduled for November 22 in 66 cities. The non-competitive 5K fundraiser has raised $17 million since it began in 2009.
This outpouring of support enables St. Jude to provide exceptional care for children such as Chloe who—even after brain surgery and radiation therapy—can still chat with her Taiwanese grandparents in Chinese and her Hispanic grandmother in Spanish.
When she talks to her sister, Hanna, Chloe switches easily from Chinese to Spanish to English. “We are always amazed,” Lynda says. “They’re very bright little girls.”
Abridged from Promise, Autumn 2014