There are times I look at my children and wonder if they were put on this planet to just frustrate me. Then there are moments when I just want to hold them close and thank the universe for giving me so much in my life. These are the times I’m grateful for a happy and healthy family. A few weeks ago I had the honor of being invited to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN and was awoken again to realize that our lives are precious while having to witness the struggles of the families seeking treatment everyday.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats, educates and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. Founded in 1962, Danny Thomas changed many lives with his vision to provide care and treatment for children without burden to their families. Today thanks to treatments invented through St Jude research the survival rate for childhood cancer has risen to over 80% from its original rate of 20% fifty years ago.
St Jude focuses its research efforts on childhood cancer some acquired and inherited immunodeficiencies, sickle cell disease, infectious diseases and genetic disorders. Currently they are also investigating work in gene therapy, bone marrow transplantation, chemotherapy, the biochemistry of normal and cancerous cells, radiation treatment, blood diseases, resistance to therapy, viruses, hereditary diseases, influenza, pediatric AIDS and psychological effects of catastrophic illnesses
As you can tell this isn’t just a regular pediatric hospital. The most severely ill children are brought here to take part in breakthrough technologies, clinical trials and treatment.
I, along with several other bloggers and the media and entertainment group of Carnival Cruise Lines, were invited to take a tour and learn more about how the hospital benefits it’s patients and families.
- St. Jude is where doctors send their toughest cases because St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for the most aggressive childhood cancers.
- 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.
- St. Jude is a world leader in developing new, improved treatments for children with cancer. We create more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital.
- On average, St. Jude has more than 67,000 patient visits each year.
- St. Jude has helped increase the survival rates for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) from 4% before opening in 1962 to 94% today.
The most important fact I want to press upon you is this. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
I was also invited to be a part of the Day of Play that was put together by Carnival Cruise Lines. This was an underwater adventure themed party with a DJ, food, dancing, games and crafts as a way to give the kids some fun to look forward to. The doors opened to the patients and their families and for the next couple hours there was no talk of treatment, medication or diagnosis.
I was honored to be a part of this chunk of time of their day. If I helped one child smile then it was all worth it.
Through a variety of innovative fundraising activities such as on board Groove for St. Jude, Beary Cuddly Program and simple bingo games, Carnival Cruise Lines has raised more than $5 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® for the hospital’s many lifesaving pediatric cancer research and treatment programs.
St. Jude keeps moving forward due to the generosity of individuals, businesses, the community and a band of loyal volunteers.