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Built on a Promise

St. Jude owes its existence to a promise made during the Depression era by a struggling entertainer, Danny Thomas. Turning to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, Thomas vowed: “Show me my way in life and I will build you a shrine.”

That simple promise and his later success as a television star led Thomas to found St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which opened in 1962. Today, St. Jude is a legendary hub of achievement and accomplishment. In fact, physicians and scientists at St. Jude pioneered treatments that helped push the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent in 1962 to more than 80 percent today. The cure rate for the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, has risen from 4 percent in 1962 to 94 percent today.

At St. Jude, research findings and breakthroughs are quickly and enthusiastically shared with health care professionals around the world. Doctors and researchers from every part of the globe come to St. Jude to study, collaborate and bring knowledge back home

St. Jude, which is non-sectarian, has approximately 5,700 patients in active status. It treats children from all over the world without regard to race, religion or creed. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer center where families never pay for treatments that are not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. It costs $2 million per day to operate St. Jude, so the support of everyone is needed. 

St. Jude Quick facts:

  • Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
  • The budgeted daily operating cost of St. Jude is $2 million.
  • Seventy-five percent of St. Jude’s budgeted costs are covered by public contributions.
  • The average donation to St. Jude is $30.
  • More than 9 million donors support St. Jude each year.
  • Donors contributed $885.6 million to St. Jude in fiscal year 2013.
  • The average cost to treat one child with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer, is $528,621.
  • St. Jude sees, on average, 7800 patients a year from across the United States and around the world, while many more children are seen at St. Jude affiliate sites around the country.
  • St. Jude’s scientific discoveries are freely shared with scientific and medical communities throughout the world. Teams of doctors from every region of the world study and utilize St. Jude protocols in their treatment centers.
  • St. Jude was the first institution to produce a cure for sickle cell disease with a bone marrow transplant and has one of the largest pediatric sickle cell disease programs in the country.
  • St. Jude maintains 78 inpatient beds and treats upward of 260 patients each day.
  • In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was names of the country’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” by FORTUNE magazine.
  • During the past five years, an average of 80 cents of every dollar received has supported the research and treatment at St. Jude.