The lights were dim, but the room was cheerful. Everyone was gathered to celebrate a wonderful cause, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The music set the atmosphere as we thought about how many patients are blessed by the incomparable care they receive from St Jude. The larger-than-life size pictures of St. Jude patients brought into perspective the fundraising intended to help save their lives. This event was inspirational.
St. Jude Call to Service Reception
St. Jude/National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc.’s (NPHC) Call to Service Reception was sponsored by Target. Everyone in the room was united in their desire to support a hospital in America that makes a difference in so many communities. Children from around the world are blessed to benefit from the research that St. Jude shares. One such community is the African American community where 40% of St. Jude patients descend.
When Richard Shadyac Jr., ALSAC President and Chief Executive Officer, took the stage, he highlighted September being both Sickle Cell Awareness and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Richard shared his pride in St. Jude with the audience. He said, “Fifty-two years ago Danny Thomas had an amazing dream that no child would die from cancer . . . [to help bring his dream to fruition] St. Jude has established more clinical trials than any other hospital to help children with cancer,” which helps provide hope to the lives of many families.
Target and St. Jude
The experience was pregnant with meaning. Laysha Ward, the president of Community Relations and Target Foundation, told a moving story about how she found out as a child that she carried the sickle cell trait. It is important for all people to get tested for the sickle cell trait prior to marriage and pregnancy because if two people who carry the sickle cell trait reproduce, their child/children have a 1 in 4 chance of being diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).
The First Patient Cured of Sickle Cell Anemia
When Kimberlin Wilson-George took the stage, her story brought tears to the eyes of many who were in the audience. Kimberlin was the first person to be cured from Sickle Cell Anemia in 1983. She had a dual diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Sickle Cell Anemia when doctors decided to perform a bone marrow transplant to treat her Leukemia. What they did not realize at the time was that the transplant would also get rid of her sickled red blood cells as well.
Kimberlin’s account of her experience at St. Jude seemed fresh and she was visibly emotional and grateful for the miracle that was performed while she was a child. Her story made the importance of donating to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital much more tangible.
Moreover, “500,000 children worldwide will be affected by the disease this year, and St. Jude [continues] to help fight against Sickle Cell Disease.” As the parent of a child with SCD, I am grateful for their diligence and research. What’s also amazing about St. Jude is that “families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food—because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.”
The Divine Nine
At the reception, St. Jude honored several community supporters including actor, activist and author Hill Harper; American journalist and syndicated columnist Roland S. Martin; the late Dr. Maya Angelou; and the following fraternities and sororities affectionately known as the Divine Nine:
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.
- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
- Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority inc.
- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.
- Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.
Make a Difference
Dare to make a difference! Stand with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and help make a difference in the lives of children living with a devastating diagnosis. “Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has the freedom to focus on what matters most—saving kids regardless of their financial situation.” Learn more about how you can partner and help it fulfill Danny Thomas’ dream for “no child to die in the dawn of life.”
Support the St. Jude Sickle Cell Disease program
Donate to St. Jude online: Ways to Help
Donate to St. Jude phone: 800-805-5856
Donate to St. Jude by mail: Printable forms
Questions and concerns: email@example.com
Disclosure: I am a St. Jude Blogger. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Photos courtesy of St. Jude.
— CleverMom (@Cleverlychangin) October 1, 2014