St. Jude celebrates 50 years: A look back

Photography by BMC

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is celebrating 50 years of finding cures and saving children. On February 4, 1962, hospital founder—the late entertainer Danny Thomas—unveiled a statue of St. Jude Thaddeus to a crowd of more than 9,000 people who gathered to honor the hospital’s dedication.

“A dream is one thing,” Thomas told the crowd. “A realization is something entirely separate. I publicly thank you, wherever you may be, for the support of this dream.”

Since that day 50 years ago, the hospital has grown from a lone star-shaped building into an institution that spreads over 66 acres and is now internationally recognized as a world leader in the treatment of childhood catastrophic diseases. In keeping Thomas’ dream alive, St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate for pediatric cancer from 20 percent when the hospital opened to more than 80 percent today.