Yesterday, February 4th, was St. Jude Founders Day, celebrating the day when Danny Thomas opened St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Since then, the survival rate for childhood cancers in the US has gone from 20% to 80%, and for pediatric leukemia from 4% to 94%. It’s truly amazing!
I got to spend the night with some of St. Jude’s leaders at an event in San Francisco. Rick Shadyac, the CEO of ALSAC, St. Jude’s fundraising arm, came to speak. He is like a celebrity to me. I met him back when I was 12 and won an award at St. Jude. Last night, he was so nice to give me a special shout out at the beginning of his talk. It was great! My mom caught it on video, which you can watch by clicking the photo.
Mr. Shadyac’s speech was super inspiring, and I learned more about how St. Jude’s mission is to treat kids with cancer around the world, no matter their economic situation or racial or religious background. This is consistent with Danny Thomas’s mission from when he started the hospital in Memphis, a city he chose because it was segregated and he wanted to make sure that ALL kids with cancer were treated free of charge.
I also got to hear about some of the incredible medical advances and research methods being used at St. Jude, told by Dr. Beth Stewart. She is an amazing person who researches solid tumors, treats patients at St. Jude, and runs thousands of miles raising money for the hospital. Plus, she was just so, so nice and told me that she can do the work she wants to do because I’m doing the work I’ve chosen to do. AMAZING!
I also got to catch up with one of my biggest donors, Steve, shown below. He is just the nicest person and so dedicated to helping me help St. Jude.
Big thanks to the St. Jude San Francisco office for putting on this special event. I loved it and made some connections that will hopefully lead to some fun projects that will bring in money for kids with cancer everywhere!
If you’d like to support the lifesaving work of doctors like Beth Stewart, please head over to my donation page HERE.
Thank you for your support!