Skip to main content

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Marks World Sickle Cell Day with New Award and Campus Exhibit

Memphis, Tennessee, June 14, 2023

Dr. William Terrell receiving his Pioneer Award.

A C Wharton, Dr. William Terrell, and Emmanuel Spence (Principal Advisor - Inclusive Philanthropy, ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)

This World Sickle Cell Day, join St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in commemorating its deep history of research and treatment of sickle cell disease.

As part of these efforts, a new exhibit will be displayed on campus at the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion, showcasing the work of the late Dr. Rudolph Jackson, one of the first African American physicians at St. Jude. It highlights his pioneering work on sickle cell disease and shares how it had a profound impact on families affected by this debilitating disease. It includes a brief history of the visionary doctor, who passed away in 2021, along with his lab coat and stethoscope.

Last week, ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® honored Dr. William Terrell with the St. Jude Pioneer Award for his work launching the first major effort to understand the lifelong progression of sickle cell disease. The award was presented by A C Wharton, Executive Director of Development at ALSAC, to Terrell, who now leads his own local pediatric medical group. The presentation of the award occurred at the annual conference of the regional chapter of the National Medical Association, the nation’s largest organization of African American physicians.

Approximately 100,000 individuals in the United States have sickle cell disease. St. Jude has been committed to researching, understanding and improving standards of care for people with sickle cell disease since opening in 1962. St. Jude has one of the largest sickle cell programs in the country and treats more than 900 patients with sickle cell disease.

Among those patients is Za’Mya, who has been a patient at St. Jude her entire life since a newborn screening found she had the disease. “In healthy people, blood cells are like donuts, they’re round,” explained her mom, Nytasha. “But when you have sickle cell disease, the cells are like crescent moons. Without St. Jude, my daughter wouldn’t have a normal life, I want her to do everything and more, despite sickle cell. And St. Jude is helping us do that.”

Share stories like Za’Mya’s or make a donation to help advance cures for childhood diseases, such as sickle cell, and support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude: Finding cures. Saving children®.

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 life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. When St. Jude opened in 1962, childhood cancer was considered largely incurable. Since then, St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate from 20% to more than 80%, and it won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Support the St. Jude mission by donating at, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.