Voices of St. Jude



The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital mission is embodied by our pioneering researchers, dedicated staff and brave families. Partnering with the nonprofit oral history project StoryCorps, we asked families, faculty and staff to interview each other and record their shared moments in St. Jude history. The result is “Voices of St. Jude,” a rich audio time capsule that includes excerpts of these conversations. The project celebrates our legacy and all who have contributed to it. Full audio interviews and transcripts are preserved in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

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Joel and Lisa's Story
Joel Alsup and Lisa Walters

“You’re so reassuring and caring and kind, and we decided that that’s surely what the angels must be like.”

Joel Alsup was a scared 7-year-old faced with losing his arm to bone cancer. Lisa Walters was a young nurse early in her career and unsure of her vocation. Together they embarked on a life-changing journey. Twenty-five years later, the two are not only friends, but also co-workers. They reflect on the role St. Jude played in shaping their paths.

  Listen to Joel and Lisa's story


Kimberlin and Stephanie's Story

Kimberlin Wilson-George and Stephanie Wilson-Kellar

“Oh, my goodness, I made history.”

Kimberlin Wilson-George was an 8-year-old with the odds stacked against her—diagnoses of sickle cell disease and acute myeloid leukemia, or AML. In a medical first, a bone marrow transplant aimed at treating the leukemia also alleviated the sickle cell disease. Decades later, Kimberlin and her mother, Stephanie Wilson-Kellar, talk about the road to Kimberlin becoming the first person in the world cured of sickle cell disease.

  Listen to Kimberlin and Stephanie's story


Ciera and Dr. Sandlund's Story

Ciera Blackburn and Dr. John Sandlund

“I cut my hair off. At that point, that was the only thing I was in control of, and it was awesome.”

She was a vibrant and active high school student. He was a renowned oncologist. Their deep friendship grew out of three grueling years of lymphoma treatment. Ciera Blackburn and John Sandlund, MD, discuss the role of a positive attitude in cancer treatment.

Editor’s note: Since this recording, Ciera’s cancer returned. She continues her courageous fight with Dr. Sandlund and the rest of the St. Jude team by her side.

  Listen to Ciera and Dr. Sandlund's story