MEMPHIS, Tennessee (September 3, 2014) – In 2014, parents of nearly 16,000 children in the United States will hear the words, “Your child has cancer.” These words mean heartbreak and despair for families who become unwilling participants in a battle with the nation’s leading cause of death from disease of children.
But they are not alone in their battle. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer. Throughout the month of September – National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – communities across the U.S. can join the fight against childhood cancer by supporting St. Jude and sharing information at stjude.org/september.
“We’re engaged in a war against pediatric cancer,” said James R. Downing, M.D., president and chief executive officer of St. Jude. “With a strong foundation of pioneering research and treatment, we will continue to push the boundaries to identify the next scientific advances that will improve cancer survival rates for children around the world. Our mission is critical, and our timeframe is urgent.”
St. Jude is where doctors often send their toughest cases because St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for some of the most aggressive childhood cancers. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened 50 years ago, and St. Jude is working to increase survival rates to 90 percent in the next decade.
But even that’s not good enough.
Survival rates for some of the most difficult-to-treat childhood cancers remain unacceptably low. For those who win their battles against childhood cancer, victory often comes at a cost as survivors face much higher risk of experiencing unique long-term health effects later in life. And while 175,000 children around the world are diagnosed with cancer each year, fewer than 40 percent of these children are adequately diagnosed and treated.
Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude doctors and scientists have the freedom to pursue all available avenues in investigating these diseases, treating their patients and working to enhance the quality and quantity of life that survivors enjoy now and in the future. The continued generosity of individual contributors is critical given that pediatric cancer research is woefully underfunded, and St. Jude is a leading institution in investment into pediatric cancer research. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.
“The generosity of our supporters allows St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to offer some of the world’s sickest children the best treatment, an environment for families to focus solely on their child, and the peace of mind that no family will ever receive a bill from St. Jude,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. “It costs $2 million per day to operate St. Jude, and public contributions cover 75 percent of the funds needed. Thanks to these donations, St. Jude pays for all treatment, travel, housing and food, so that all a family should worry about is helping their child live.”
The generosity of individual contributors also allows St. Jude doctors and scientists to embark upon ambitious, industry-leading efforts like the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, the first proton therapy center in the world dedicated solely to children (the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center), and the St. Jude LIFE & After Completion of Therapy Clinic (Presented by Kmart), whose mission is to help patients stay healthy as they continue their journey as a survivor after active treatment ends.
“We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer,” said Shadyac. “But we need your help.”
About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for the most aggressive childhood cancers, and treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since we opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent in the next decade. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs we make, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org or follow St. Jude on Facebook and Twitter.
Jordan Crump, ALSAC/St. Jude