Partners in Life

After 17 moves, four children and 55 years of marriage, one couple begins a new chapter, supporting two exciting programs at St. Jude.

By Kelly Healy; Photo by Mike Brown

Tom and Judy Sheehan have been partners in life for more than 55 years, equally sharing the joys and burdens of marriage and raising four children.

“It wasn’t my career, it was our career,” says Tom, a retired automotive electronics executive. “We moved 17 times for my job. It takes a special family to do what we did.”

Recently, the couple extended their partnership to helping save the lives of children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Sheehans made gifts to support the hospital’s Genomes for Kids study and gene therapy

Tom and Judy Sheehan

Tom and Judy Sheehan

“Danny Thomas started St. Jude in 1962, the same year we were married,” Judy says. “We’ve grown up with St. Jude. We hope these studies will help researchers learn more and will lead to greater understanding of these diseases so the mission can continue.”

The couple’s personal ALSAC/St. Jude representative, Erika Rudd, says the Sheehans have a deep desire to understand and support the hospital’s research and treatment.

“Supporters like Tom and Judy want to dream big with St. Jude,” Rudd says. “They told me, ‘Let’s think big. We want to know what the latest promising research is; what the doctors and researchers at St. Jude are dreaming about that could be the next big breakthrough.’”

The Sheehans’ latest gift, made in the form of a stock transfer, was fortuitous for them and for St. Jude.

“The stock market had great gains in the first half of 2017,” Tom says. “By moving some of our appreciated stock to charity, we were able to avoid capital gains and give St. Jude a larger gift.”

We hope these studies will help researchers learn more and will lead to greater understanding of these diseases so the mission can continue.

Reflecting on their support, Tom says, “St. Jude is absolutely a great investment. The mission is right, and the concept of thinking big and doing whatever they can to find cures is what they are all about.”

Adds Judy: “St. Jude doesn’t have an institutional feel. There are some very sick children there, but everyone always seems to be smiling. It’s a happy place, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

For more information about donating stock to St. Jude or other ways you can support the hospital’s lifesaving mission, call 1-800-910-3188 or email giftplanning@stjude.org

From Promise, Winter 2018

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