Entrance to St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
I was extremely fortunate to tour St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee as a member of Brizo's blogger19 alumni reunion tour, last week. Brizo luxury faucets, has partnered with St Jude for the past three years as sponsors of the hospital's largest fundraising effort which is The St Jude Dream House Giveaway by donating all the kitchen and bath faucets to the houses. To date, the hospital and their partners in the cause such as Brizo, have raised over 260 million dollars. As a Brizo blogger19 alumni, Brizo wanted our group to experience first hand, why they consider St Jude and the medical care given there so important. Founded by Danny Thomas in 1962,St Jude has changed lives around the world, since the hospital's inception. A visit to St Jude is an experience of a lifetime. I hope you all will a visit to St Jude to discover how you too can help the fight against childhood cancer. [click header to continue reading...]
Danny Thomas, Founder of St Jude Children's Research Hospital
The Story of St. Jude
Over 70 years ago, a struggling entertainer, tossed his last $7 in the catholic offering plate, after feeling compelled by a moving message given at a mass, he was attending in a Detroit. His emotional decision to give all his money to the church, led Danny Thomas to bended knee and pleading prayers to St Jude, to help him make money to pay his wife's hospital bills, after the birth of their child. The next week, Thomas landed a job, that paid 10 times what he had given. Several years later, the entertainer, was again struggling, with his direction in life and looked again to St Jude for guidance. "Help me find my way in life and I will build you a shrine" Thomas promised to St. Jude, patron saint of hopeless causes.
Statue of St Jude Thaddeus at the entrance of St Jude
Danny's career took off and years later, he made good on his promises to St Jude. In the 1950's Danny, who had become an internationally known entertainer, began fundraising efforts for the hospital, by enlisting help from local business leaders, wealthy friends and personally led campaigns across the country. He was feeling weary from the amount of travel it was taking to realize his dream, Thomas reached out to Americans of Arabic-speaking heritage to help out.
From the St Jude website:
"Believing deeply that these Americans should, as a group, thank the United States for the gifts of freedom given their parents, Danny also felt the support of St. Jude would be a noble way of honoring his immigrant forefathers who had come to America."
In 1957, ALSAC was born in Chicago from a group over 100 members of the Arab-American community. The sole purpose of this group was to raise funds for St Jude Children's Research Hospital. Now with headquarters located in Memphis, ALSAC continues to raise money to fund the hospital, which requires 1.8 million per day to operate. Through the amazing care of the medical staff at St Jude, children from all over the world are provided health care to combat pediatric leukemias and other forms of solid tumors. The survival rates for children with childhood cancers has grown to almost 94% from the less than 20% when the hospital opened in 1962.
Statue of founder, Danny Thomas with children on the grounds of St Jude
ALSAC Pavilion at St Jude
Blogger19 at St Jude outside the ALSAC Pavillion
photo courtesy of Brizo
The exterior of the ALSAC Pavilion at St Jude Children's Research Hospital. Thank You St Jude and ALSAC for a warm welcome and an amazing day. I think it is fair to say, we are richer from the experience.
Display of Danny Thomas and "The Company He Keeps" which displays all the celebrity friends of Danny Thomas who helped raise money or donate to St Jude
Inside the pavilion, the walls are decorated with the history of ALSAC,the hospital and memorabilia of Danny Thomas and his life and career. One area of the pavilion is dedicated to Thomas' humanitarian life and his work for children around the world. The Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress is the centerpiece of the exhibit.
The star shaped architectural layout of the pavilion, with it's five alcoves surrounding the rotunda, was designed to represent the world and symbolizes the hospital's wish to extend care to the of children of the world. The rotunda in the ALSAC pavilion at St Jude is inscribed with three sayings, Danny Thomas felt describe St Jude and the mission of the hospital. Each saying is written in english and arabic encircling the rotunda ceiling. The pavilion is typically a self guided tour but we were lucky to have ALSAC tour guides to lead our tours. Our tour guide, Chance took extra care in explaining the history of the pavilion, Thomas' vision and the displays lining the walls. The pavilion is open 8am - 4pm seven days a week.
Danny Thomas and his wife, Rose Marie Thomas are buried in the beautiful memorial garden behind ALSAC pavilion at St Jude in Memphis.
Danny Thomas's mausoleum bears these words by Lebanese poet, Kahlil Gibran which is a compilation from the last chapter "The Last Farewell" from the book "The Prophet."
Photo courtesy of St Jude - Danny Thomas on his father's lap
It's hard to believe that a little boy, named Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouzborn born of Lebanese immigrants, could grow up to become international entertainer Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Hospital, a place that would provide free care for children with cancer and their families.
International entertainer, Danny Thomas featured
on the wall in the ALSAC pavilion at St Jude
It's amazing how one man's vision, determination and drive could make such a difference to so many sick children, giving hope to families across the world. Kudos to you Danny Thomas, you were truly a visionary. We should continue to support your dreams to provide care for all sick children and their families.
This brick on the sidewalk, outside St Jude on the walk of donors, best describes how I felt about my visit to St Jude. This hospital was built from a belief in miracles and to this day is providing miracles to all who grace its doors for treatment or a visit.
"All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don't discover why. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others."
Join me next for our visit of the St Jude Children's Hospital and the St Jude Target House,which provides free housing for families and their children while patients at St Jude.
Please consider joining the fight against childhood cancer!
If you would like to give to St Jude please click here
(All photos property of Lisa Mende unless otherwise noted.
Please do not use without giving due credit.)
My trip to St Jude was funded by Brizo luxury faucets,
but the opinions in the post are my own.