In St. Jude’s Research Labs, ‘You Can Literally See the Passion’ for Finding Cures
When actor Danny Thomas opened St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in 1962, the survival rate for childhood cancer was just 20 percent. Today, that rate is 80 percent, thanks to medical advancements and research breakthroughs -- including those made by the doctors at St. Jude.
St. Jude's work treating children with cancer from across the world at no charge to their families is well-known, but doctors at the hospital are also conducting more clinical trials for cancer than any other children's hospital. The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital -- Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project has resulted in groundbreaking discoveries about several childhood cancers, and in April, the St. Jude research team announced that they had developed a gene therapy that can cure infants born with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency, commonly known as "bubble boy disease."
In addition, St. Jude leads the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, which includes more than 30 institutions across North America and more than 20,000 childhood cancer survivors. All of the research that St. Jude's doctors do, and all of the discoveries they make, are shared freely with doctors and scientists worldwide -- an important contribution to not only the treatment of childhood cancers but, hopefully, the discovery of cures.
"The research facilities here are fantastic. Like, when you donate to St. Jude, you're not just donating to help the kids and their families, you're donating for this tremendous amount of research that's going into save more lives," shared King Calaway during the 2020 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids seminar in Memphis, Tenn., in mid-January. "It's fantastic ... And the fact that it's openly shared among other researches all around the world ... That's incredible."
When the rising country band and other artists visited St. Jude during the Country Cares seminar, they were offered a look inside the hospital's research lab. Johnny McGuire called the experience "really cool," and marveled at how the organization shares all of their discoveries, while Jackson Michelson recalled to The Boot his conversation with a doctor from the UK who had planned to work at St. Jude for one year but has now been at the hospital for a decade.
"I thought it was gonna be a cry-fest for me, but I left so inspired by what I saw, and the real, hard data of support, of success," admitted Brett Kissel. "It's an incredible facility ... This is an establishment that works ... and it's getting better with every year."
Independent artist Abbey Cone, too, was blown away by the doctors she met in the research lab, and the other St. Jude employees she met during her time at the hospital. "Every person I talked to today ... you could literally see the passion they have for their job and St. Jude as an organization," she reflected.
On Feb. 6-7, more than a dozen country radio stations owned by Townsquare Media, The Boot's parent company, will hold their 2020 Country Cares radiothons to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In the past six years, these stations have raised more than $9.2 million, and even more money has come from additional TSM stations that hold radiothons later in the year. To join the fight against childhood cancer and become a Partner in Hope, visit St. Jude's official website.
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