Happy birthday, St. Jude!
The pediatric research hospital is turning 50 years old this month.
If you're from Memphis, you already know the story: St. Jude was founded in 1960 by actor Danny Thomas to provide a place where children with catastrophic illnesses could receive treatment, regardless of their ability to afford it.
Now, St. Jude treats roughly 6,700 patients from all over the world every year for cancer, flus, AIDS, sickle cell and other serious illnesses. The hospital's award-winning research staff provides the information that they gather to doctors around the world free of charge.
What I love the most about St. Jude is how kid-centric it is. The staff is commited to trying to make life as normal as possible for the patients. They attend school (and have graduation and prom), celebrate holidays (especially Halloween, when patients trick-or-treat the hospital) and participate in volunteer-led activities. The hallways are bright and the building is full of artwork by current and former patients.
In the past 50 years, St. Jude has had more accomplishments and contributions to medicine (and Memphis) than I could reasonably list. What's clear, though, is that the hospital's main export is miracles.