WBKO recently sent a crew to Memphis, Tenn., to spend time at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In the months leading up to the Dream Home giveaway, we'll be telling you more about the hospital, as well as the patients.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital first started with a struggling young entertainer named Danny Thomas.
With only $7 in his pocket, Thomas knelt before a statue of St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes.
He asked the saint to "show him his way in life." When his entertainment career took off, Thomas pledged to give back and he did.
"I tell you sincerely, I never thought I would live to see St. Jude Hospital built. Now that it's done, we have the small task of maintaining it for life. That falls in particular upon the shoulders of the members of the fund-raising organization for St. Jude, known as ALSAC. In general upon the shoulders of every person who calls themselves a citizen of the United States of America," said Thomas at the dedication of St. Jude Hospital, on February 4, 1962.
Thomas opened the doors to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in 1962 and lived to see his hospital become a place of hope for the catastrophically ill children of the world.
He passed away in 1991, just two days after celebrating the hospital's 29th anniversary. Thomas was laid to rest in the hospital's memorial garden.
Thomas' dream of finding cures and saving lives continues to live on.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital treats about 230 patients each day and since opening has treated children from all fifty states and more than 70 foreign countries.
St. Jude was the first institution established for the sole purpose of conducting basic and clinical research into catastrophic childhood diseases, mainly cancer.
"Despite the success rate of childhood cancer, cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in children in the United States between one and fifteen years of age, so we've made enormous progress, but it's still killing more children than any other disease. So obviously there's a need for much more progress," said William Evans, Director and CEO of St. Jude.
The operating cost for the hospital is more than $1 million per day, which is primarily covered by public contributions.
It is the only pediatric research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance and those without insurance are never asked to pay.
"When you come to St. Jude, you come with a sick child and it's your most desperate hours, and the fact that you don't have to worry for one second about how you're gonna pay the bill and at the same time be assured that your child is getting the very best care possible. I think that's a tremendous thing for any parent," said John Moses, CEO of ALSAC.
Over the years, St. Jude has developed protocols that have brought survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent to more than 70 percent overall.
Their research is also shared across the world so that all children will benefit.
For more on St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, click on the following link:
For more on the Dream Home giveaway in Bowling Green that is raising money for St. Jude, click on the following link: