Thanks and Giving – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


Gabby Hanson, Co-Editor

As the holiday season rolls around, we often run to the notes in our phone, crafting our perfect Christmas wishlist with easy-to-access links sending us directly to our very specific wishes and wants; almost as if we are owed these materialistic things. But what about those who have a different kind of wish? One like a heart transplant or expensive chemo treatments to save their life that their family might not be able to afford. 

St. Jude Research Hospital is a non-profit organization that specializes in childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. What makes this hospital unique is no child is denied care based on their family’s ability to pay. Families of St. Jude never receive a bill for housing, food, treatment or travel. Founder Danny Thomas once said, “No child should die in the dawn of life.” Their goal is to eliminate childhood cancer and have since increased the survival rate from only 20 percent to 80 percent since they were founded over 50 years ago; vowing to not stop until they reach a 100 percent survival rate.

St. Jude is able to accommodate life-saving care for their patients at no cost to them only because of generous donations, humbled hearts and organizations like the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, whose sole purpose is to raise money and awareness for their medical research. 82 cents of each dollar donated goes towards a patient’s medical bills so you can trust you will see your money work through the lives of children in St. Jude. According to St. Jude statistics, most patients’ medical care costs on average $425,000 but can surpass more than $1 million. Even though St. Jude will run medical costs through families who do have insurance, they assume all costs for everyone, regardless of if they’re insured or not including deductibles and copays. However, it’s not just medical bills you are donating to; travel, housing for the patient and family, food, schooling, psychosocial therapy for family and siblings of patients as well as other basic necessities are made possible by generous contributions.

Every year St. Jude treats around 8,600 patients. The mission of the hospital is to offer life-saving care while ensuring their patients have as normal of a childhood as possible. A large portion of the proceeds goes to outpatient housing where their parents can live along with them. 

It costs around $1.4 billion dollars a year to run St. Jude; it is expected to be $2 billion come 2027. With constant further research that costs millions to billions of dollars and years to complete, those $5 donations mean the world and will save thousands of lives. Treatments developed at St. Jude have put a whole different outcome on childhood cancer, raising the survival rate from Acute Lymphatic Leukemia (ALL) from 4% in 1962 to 94% today.

According to, President and CEO of ALSAC, Richard C. Shadyac Jr., comments, Cancer is a multi-trillion dollar, multi-year global problem that takes millions of people around the world coming together to make meaningful progress in the fight against pediatric cancer. The St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign presents a heartfelt, practical way to unite everyone around a lifesaving mission that will impact generations to come because funds generated will support the six-year, $11.5 billion strategic plan of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to accelerate research and treatment for children all over the world.”

There are a number of well-known businesses supporting St. Jude this holiday season, including Best Buy, Chili’s, HomeGoods, AutoZone, Williams Sonoma and Kay Jewelers. They donate a portion of their proceeds or encourage employees and customers to do so at checkout.

American actress and producer, Jennifer Aniston, is a long-term supporter of St. Jude.  “St. Jude Thanks and Giving presents a chance to help, and it is a tradition I am always proud to support,” said Aniston. “This year I’m especially inspired by the determination of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which remains focused on ensuring kids everywhere receive the best and most advanced treatments, and they can do so because of the generosity of the many supporters around the country. Together, we can continue to give hope to the children and families of St. Jude.”

What if we humble ourselves this holiday season and took into consideration how blessed we really are? We don’t need expensive gifts to make us happy. I challenge you this holiday season to take others into consideration and in the spirit of the season of giving, think about giving back to those who need it more than the new iPhone or the latest and greatest toy.