Tony DeVary was 3, going on 4, when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It was at the most advanced stage and doctors in his hometown said there was little hope. But there was hope — at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Some four decades later, Tony says St. Jude didn’t just save his life, it inspired every aspect of his life — even his chosen career.
He became a public school guidance counselor and a private health consultant. He helps people with their problems — middle-schoolers with depression and anxiety; adults with health conditions from diabetes to cancer — by drawing on the ways St. Jude helped him cope with his.
When he teaches someone to use visualization or other mental skills techniques, he remembers how he’d stare at his Snoopy stuffed animal during chemotherapy treatments at St. Jude to take his mind to some happier place.
“The doctors and staff actually cared about me and my family,” he said. “Their actions taught me how to truly care for others.”
Because at St. Jude, Tony wasn’t just a patient, a number.
“Simply put, I was Tony,” he said.