St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been a leader in pediatric cancer research and treatment for over 5 decades.
Established by Danny Thomas on February 4, 1962, the story of this children’s hospital is an inspirational one.
The goal of the hospital remains true to its original vision, to find cures for cancer and other diseases that affect children through a research based model and individualized treatment.
St. Jude is open to all children, worldwide, and the hospital sees an average 7,800 patients annually, and families receive entirely free services for their children. Patients that need treatment at St. Jude are put first, over finances, paperwork and all the other bureaucracy that can be involved in an extended hospital stay.
Families do not receive bills, and do not have to worry about food, housing or even travel when their children are patients at the facility. The hospital operates entirely on a donation system, and fortunately with charitable contributions they are still able to offer free treatment.
It is the first clinical research and treatment center developed for children and is the only pediatric comprehensive cancer center as selected by the National Cancer Institute.
The dedication of the St. Jude community has made a considerable difference in childhood cancer survival rates. When the hospital opened there was an average cancer survival rate of less than 20%, and currently the overall rate has increased to 80%. The most common form of childhood cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which did have a survival rate of 4% before the hospital was open, but this has amazingly increased to a 94% success rate.
This graph shows the national averages of cancer survival rates compared from 1962 to present day for some more common cancers:
In addition to a focus on childhood cancer, St. Jude is also behind many other cures and treatments for invasive childhood diseases. The hospital actually developed the cure for sickle cell disease by researching bone marrow transplant procedures and now has one of the leading sickle cell treatment facilities for children.
Their open model allows access to their research and data by the scientific and medical communities. They also share information and research with the public, like the pediatric cancer genome project, which lets you examine diseases and information and associated data.
From the children’s artwork that surrounds the hospital, gift shop and publications, they give children a voice in their fight. The ABC’s of Cancer shows the skillful artwork of a wide age range of children.
Their gift shop features products with patient’s artwork that are available year round, but they make perfect holiday gifts.
Though faced with the unimaginable every day, the hospital staff remains children centered and try to make each child’s experience as comfortable as possible so that they can focus on their medical needs.
There are 100’s of other humanitarian and service based nonprofit organizations that accept donations to help provide for a multitude of causes and contributions any time of year are appreciated. Donations made in someone else’s name always make great gifts, and many also have items for sale that aid their cause.
- Sandy Hook Promise
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
- Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
- Special Olympics
- Invisible Children
- Oxfam International
- The Trevor Project
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer
If you have any, please mention your nonprofit recommendations in the comments and help spread the word.
All images are from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
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