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A Reflection on Recent Events from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC CEOs

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, are deeply disturbed and heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and by the other acts of injustice and violence that have taken place across the country. We grieve with those hurting and mourning, especially given our mission to care equally for all children.

ALSAC, American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, was founded by Danny Thomas in 1957. It is an organization founded by an entertainer and humanitarian to love and care for our neighbor. The ALSAC mission was to build and sustain St. Jude, which opened in 1962 in the segregated South. The hospital was dedicated to the equal care of all children with cancer and life-threatening diseases. Its unifying and world-changing mission was simple, yet aspirational: Advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic disease through research and treatment.

What started with a handful of supporters has turned into a movement of millions. Thanks primarily to the funds raised by ALSAC through generous donors from all backgrounds, St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Staying true to our foundational promise, no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food because we believe all a family should worry about is helping their child live. St. Jude and ALSAC are working to change the health care outcomes for every child with cancer, everywhere. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

Today, St. Jude and ALSAC continue to work to foster the values of inclusion, respect and equity for all. Just as we work daily to be change agents for the children and families of the world who rely on us, everyone who is part of the St. Jude mission must peacefully act to do all we can to become positive agents of change in our workplaces, our homes, our communities, our country and our world. We must stand against racism, injustice and violence of any kind. We must speak up to stop it where we encounter it. We must create safe and inclusive environments where all can thrive. We must love and support one another. We pledge to continue to do all we can to change this world for the better, especially for our children.”

- James R. Downing, MD, President and CEO, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and
- Richard C. Shadyac, Jr., President and CEO, ALSAC