St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is known around the world for its research and charitability and is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The main focus of St. Jude is making sure that each patient and family has the best care imaginable.
St. Jude, located in Memphis’ Pinch District, announced in Nov. 2015 plans to expand its campus, which would create 1,800 new jobs. In order to expand at the magnitude planned, St. Jude received assistance from the state in the form of a $12 million investment in public infrastructure projects. The city of Memphis will also be investing $25 million in public infrastructure projects. With these two public investments, the surrounding area will flourish from St. Jude’s expansion.
It means a great deal that St. Jude is a vital and growing part of Team Tennessee. TNECD talked with Rick Shadyac, CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, to learn more about St. Jude, its life-changing mission and the ongoing expansion in Memphis.
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital means so much to so many people. Can you give a description of St. Jude’s mission?
RS: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. St. Jude is not just a hospital that treats desperately ill kids; St. Jude is also a research institution whose scientists are on the cutting edge in the search for cures for childhood cancer. And families will never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because we believe that all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
- What is ALSAC and how do ALSAC and St. Jude work together?
RS: ALSAC’s sole mission is to raise the funds and awareness necessary to operate and maintain St. Jude. Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributions, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most – saving kids regardless of their financial situation. ALSAC is committed to raising the funds necessary to fulfill St. Jude President and CEO Dr. James R. Downing’s bold vision to make St. Jude the global leader in the fight against childhood cancer. We wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Downing’s statement about the urgency of our mission – “if not St. Jude, then who?”
- What is it about Memphis and Tennessee that makes it the perfect location for St. Jude?
RS: Danny Thomas, our founder, was first drawn to Memphis by his spiritual mentor, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, who served in the Catholic Diocese of Memphis and considered it his home. But Danny knew after he visited Memphis that this community would be a faithful and enthusiastic partner in St. Jude’s efforts to cure childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The Memphis community did embrace Danny’s vision of a hospital that would serve children regardless of their race, creed, or financial situation. Today, St. Jude is part of a vibrant community filled with caring and generous people who are dedicated to making Memphis one of the best places to live, not only in Tennessee but throughout the United States.