St. Jude Children's Hospital

St. Jude Children's Hospital
By: Wendy Ray

You never think it will be your child who's diagnosed with cancer. But for parents with children being treated at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, it's a frightening reality they live through everyday.

Parents and children find comfort quickly though. The minute you walk through the doors at St. Jude, you know it's a place of healing and hope where sick children are getting better.

No child should die in the dawn of life, that's the motto St. Jude founder Danny Thomas lived by. St. Jude Children's Hospital was a vision the late actor dreamed about, that dream came true in 1962. Now more than 40 years later, children are still getting the care they need free of charge. St. Jude nurse Keri Meyer says, "People say to me, I don't know how you work at St. Jude it's a sad place. I say it's not a sad place, it's a place where miracles happen everyday."

You feel the presence of miracles as soon as you walk through the doors of St. Jude. Everything done there revolves around making children feel at ease. Bright, animated paintings line the hallways. Toys fill the waiting areas. But that's just the beginning. It's also a research hospital. Scientists and doctors work side by side to study cancer, and other diseases. Dr. Victor Santana says, "I personally believe the only way to make progress in battling cancer is with a focused team approach. I think St. Jude does that, and does it well."

St. Jude also helps families when they're not at the hospital. After a long day at the hospital, some of the patients go to the Target House, their temporary home. The Target House is a long-term housing facility, and just one of the places families can stay while their child is getting treatment. Like everything else at St. Jude, it's free. Each family has it's own apartment. There's everything from a play room to an arts and crafts center for the kids. Target House manager Karri Morgan says, "It allows the kids to be normal and function with one family unit. It also allow them to be able to function with other children with the same types of treatments and difficulties. They have a support group and a safe haven."

Whether it's the Target House or the hospital, families facing the fear of a child's illness find comfort at St. Jude. Nurse Keri Meyer says, "I think the families have so much to give. They didn't choose to go to St. Jude, but if they have to be there, everyday we're going to make it as good as we can."

A child has to be referred to St. Jude by their family doctor with an illness that can be treated at the research hospital.

You can find more information about St. Jude and the research it does by clicking here: