I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Memphis courtesy of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to attend the Ambassador event in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views, opinions, thoughts and ideas shared on my post are completely my own.
I recently visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as one of the new Ambassadors but this wasn’t my first life changing visit to the hospital. My very first visit was two years ago when I was invited to attend Celebration of Hope as a representative of a global ministry. It was a weekend long event celebrating the fundraising efforts for St. Jude as well as informing friends of its successes and impact.
I remember arriving at the hospital and immediately noticed a little girl just on the other side of the window. While we weren’t allowed to take photos of the patients, I’ll never forget her sweet little face. She had the smoothest caramel brown skin, bright white eyes, the cutest butterfly dress, and a pink headband that was so adorable, it totally made me forget about the fact that her hair had fallen out due to her cancer treatments.
Minutes later we were taken across the walk way where Danny Thomas and his wife were laid to rest. The St. Jude team told us how St. Jude began. The obstacles that Danny overcame to ensure that all children with cancer, regardless of race could receive treatment free of charge.
I’m remember tears swelling up in my eyes as I thought about the sacrifices he made to save lives. I knew then that I wanted to do my part to help further Danny’s mission. That feeling grew stronger as I toured the hospital. With every detail from the patient transport wagons to the ABC’s of Cancer; the garden where they grow their own food; to the amazing cafeteria where it’s prepared – allowing staff, patients and their families to eat together as one big happy family, it became clearer to me that I needed to help.
I didn’t think I could be more impressed and passionate about the work of St. Jude, until I visited Target House. The Target House is rent-free housing where patients and their families live for the duration of their treatment.
The emotional process of a family hearing that their child has cancer, a relocation to Memphis for weeks, months and sometimes years is a trial of itself. A place like the Target House to call home makes families as comfortable as possible.
The amount of detail, innovation, charm, and intention that was put in creating a home away from home for a family facing possibly one of the hardest times of their lives, is so refreshing and inspiring…and more than generous.
Moms, at the end of my three-day visit, I was determined to contribute to the $2.4M dollars a day it takes for St. Jude to provide its services.
As I left the last night of the Celebration of Hope and headed back to my room, I was reminded of the fact that I lost two uncles to Leukemia. My uncle Patrick died exactly one month before I was born at the tender age of 9, he was the youngest boy of my grandmother’s children. Her oldest son, my uncle Vincent died at ripe age of 25.
I packed my bags with tears rolling down my face thinking about my grandmother. The look on her face when my uncle Vincent passed was unbearable. I had never seen her in such pain. It confirmed my desire to me an integral part of the fabric of St. Jude.
Today, I want to do my part to help spread the word about St. Jude. I want to help them raise money so they can continue preventing children from dying in the dawn of life from cancer. If you want to find out more about St. Jude, please visit the website at www.stjude.org.