Imagine as a dad you’re told to rush your daughter to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and arrive there in the middle of the night. It’s a Friday. At Christmastime.
Imagine facing the prospect your 3-year-old has leukemia.
Imagine having to wait until Monday to know for sure.
Imagine when the test comes back negative.
Imagine taking your little girl home for Christmas.
Imagine your grateful heart.
Imagine never forgetting St. Jude for its best in the world science and medicine. And for its unforgettable kindness in your darkest hours. No matter that you were there only three days.
Imagine hanging your daughter’s St. Jude patient ID bracelet on the Christmas tree every year since – for more than a decade.
Imagine still carrying the key to your St. Jude housing unit in your wallet as a reminder you never received a bill from St. Jude.
Imagine running in five St. Jude Memphis Marathons to raise funds and help pass that kindness on to the next family that might not be so lucky.
Imagine training for the Boston Marathon, your first, having qualified through your generosity – not your legs.
Imagine preparing for Boston as a St. Jude Hero, blowing past your $10,000 fundraising commitment. To $38,000.
Imagine having your plans derailed by a global pandemic but never giving up, still planning to run, and hoping to raise $50,000 when the race finally happens in September.
There’s no need to imagine any of this. Let me introduce you to Scott Kruse of tiny Dexter, Missouri. It’s his story.
There’s also no need to imagine the capacity people have for kindness and generosity. We’re seeing it everywhere, from Scott and his amazing family (including Andie, a healthy teenager now), to donors and fundraisers around the U.S. who continue to support St. Jude whenever, however they can.
We’re seeing it because, as our founder Danny Thomas clearly understood, there is no force equal to the power of human compassion.
Danny understood people, all of us, are guided by an immense sense of decency and compassion and he focused all that strength and power toward what was thought to be an insolvable problem.
There may not be a more relevant time in our history for such a genuinely optimistic sentiment.
Just imagine where we’d be without you.
Your acts of compassion and generosity buoy us.
Richard C. Shadyac Jr. is President and CEO of American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.