‘I will build you a shrine’ →

For the month of September, I’m donating my RSS sponsorship spots to St. Jude.

The history of St. Jude is quite interesting:

As a young man, Danny Thomas had a simple goal: to entertain people and be successful enough at it to provide for his wife and family. But work wasn’t easy to come by.

As he and his family struggled, his despair grew. He wondered if he should give up on his dreams of acting or find a steady job. He turned to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. “Show me my way in life,” he vowed to the saint one night in a Detroit church, “and I will build you a shrine.”

That prayer to St. Jude marked a pivotal moment in his life. Soon after, he began finding work, eventually becoming one of the biggest stars of radio, film and television in his day.

The hospital was originally designed to care for the poor children of the American South, but after some planning, Thomas and others realized that there was a bigger battle to fight: catastrophic diseases in children.

After a period of fundraising, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened on February 4, 1962

In the 53 years since St. Jude opened, the overall survival rate of childhood cancer has rocketed from 20% to 80%. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a disease with a virtual death sentence in 1962, now has a survival rate of 94 percent.

That 80% number is nothing short of inspiring; the combination of scientific research and patient care that happens on St. Jude’s campus sets the hospital apart from other institutions.

But there’s still a fight to be had. Cancer still claims too many young lives. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 children under 15 die from cancer worldwide each year.

That number is way too high, and it’s what keeps the hard-working men and women at St. Jude pushing the boundaries of science.

That number haunts me. We’ve seen a lot of families come and go over our six years of being a St. Jude family. For every sad story, however, there are happy ones, too. Such it is with things like pediatric cancer; joy and pain are intermingled and can’t be separated from one another.

We can change this, though. The brilliant minds at St. Jude are working every single day to close the gap and bring hope to all. Donate now.