Guest post by Warren Jewell. Warren is a long time reader of YIMCatholic and I saw he posted this on his Facebook Page. Thinking that it might be something you would be interested in as well, I asked his permission to share it with you. Though not a Catholic hospital or charity, per se, the work they do, and the amount they charge their patients (see below), are in keeping with the finest traditions of Catholic agape for our neighbor.
Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital sent me another appeal for funds with a short sketch about What Cancer Cannot Do. But, first, a little history to try to appeal to your blessed, giving ways about Saint Jude’s.
Saint Jude’s is the ongoing act of gratitude to God by Danny Thomas, God love the man, for his success in entertainment in TV (remember ‘Make Room for Daddy’?) and stand-up comedy. He prayed that he would create Saint Jude’s if God permitted him to support his family through his career. For my part, Mr. Thomas personally recruited me, and my brother and other Chicago-area teens, at the time of his first public appeal for funds. He had us make radio ads to be aired on Chicago radio stations for his singular dedicated devotion to children dying of cancer, and their families. With a modest pride, I have observed and supported this mighty work ever since.
Of worthy note, you see, for all its powerful research, the hospital is last therapeutic resort for children approaching death due to their diseases. Saint Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.
ALSAC (American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities) is the fund-raising arm of Saint Jude. For all these years Americans of Lebanese descent (as Mr. Thomas was) have donated to cover the basic infrastructure and facilities of the hospital. Our own donations go to pay for professional and technical workers and the basic care of each child patient and his family.
And, Saint Jude’s has been blessed with great success. How blessed, how successful? Praise be to God, for a few examples:
in 1962, the survival rate for dreaded acute lymphoblastic leukemia was 4%; today it is 94%;
in 1962, the rate for non-Hodgkin lymphoma was 7%; today, it is 85%;
in 1962, neuroblastoma (cancer of nerve tissues) was 10%; today, 55%;
in 1962, osteosarcoma (bone cancer) survival was 20%; today 65%;
in 1962, medulloblastoma (a type of brain tumor) was 10%; today, it is 85%;
overall, in 1962, 20% of child cancer victim survived; today, 80% survive.
Indeed, the hospital has been so successful that it has begun to branch out into research combating other serious childhood diseases. I am proud to have played my own miniscule part of that since those first appeals for help.
Of course, such statistics make me weep in gratitude to God, Danny Thomas, and his family and fellow Americans of Lebanese descent, and all who have been instrumental in such life-saving medicine. But, also, for how many children and their families have so awfully suffered the development of therapies to make these numbers what they are.
At Saint Jude’s, the most remarkable quality of this whole process has always been the heroic confidence and cheerful endurance of their little patients. Even in losing battles, the kids have been the very ‘bricks’ of the whole enterprise.
Now, that stanza of What Cancer Cannot Do?
Cancer is so limited –
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot conquer the spirit.
Saint Jude the Apostle is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. Serious childhood illness is surely still desperate; Saint Jude’s Hospital is working to lessen those ‘lost causes’. You can read more at stjude.org if you so desire.
Finally, if you will, I beg of you, mail your own donation to this grand effort:
Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital
P.O. Box 50
Memphis, TN 38101-9929
Their current campaign is called ‘Partners in Hope’, where if you would, you can pledge a regular monthly donation. Call 1-800-822-6344 to ask about this program.
I know that these are tough times for many of us. But, it can’t get much tougher than being an innocent child hurting and fighting for her life, huh? Hey! This time, about helping these kids, it’s personal :-)
God love and bless you, always and in all ways.