This past weekend I was fortunate enough to get a tour of the St. Jude hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. We spent most of the day Friday touring the hospital. It was a very emotional day to say the least, surrounded by many patients and their families as we walked through the halls of the hospital.
The staff at St. Jude has got to be the most dedicated staff you will ever find. Every employee we spoke with reiterated the importance of our mission, giving everything we have to save kids’ lives and help find cures for cancer.
A few things that I learned that I wanted to pass on.
1. St. Jude has many advanced facilities that are not found in many locations in the US. Some of the more advanced technologies are often the only one of its kind not held by private companies. This is important because when St. Jude finds medicines and/or techniques that are working, they are shared with the entire medical community, benefiting everyone ASAP without concerns of profit.
2. Many former patients have gone on to careers at the hospital. We were fortunate enough to chat with a current employee who fought for her life for 10 years. Now she tells her story as a way to help St. Jude continue its mission.
3. When the hospital started in 1962, the overall survival rate for children with various types of cancer was 20%. That number has increased to 80% today. There is still a lot of work to do, but significant progress is being made every year.
4. Most patients at St. Jude are not in-patient. There are at least 3 different “housing options” for patients, depending on how long and how often their treatment is likely to be. From “hotel style” to long term apartments for those with a longer road to recovery. These different “houses” receive support from many large corporations, celebrities and concerned citizens.
5. If you are ever in Memphis, you can call in advance and schedule a tour as well. It was very educational, inspirational, and we met a ton of very great people.
I am also going to post a few pictures from my trip for everyone to see. The following pictures hang in a hallway on the main floor. There is one for each letter of the alphabet. They will make you think, make you cry and occasionally make you laugh. I hope they provide some inspiration and motivate others to help out.