St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a hospital with a mission to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of their founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.
To bring awareness to the great work they do for children and their families, the Memphis-based hospital hosted it Celebration of Hope Weekend, which brings together celebrities, radio personalities, influencers and media people to raise awareness for the donor-operated medical facility.
Guests were able to tour the St. Jude Hospital and the Target House Residences where patients and their families stay during treatment. It was a remarkable experience being able to talk with patients, their doctors, researchers and other important players in the care of the St. Jude kids and seeing the top-notch facilities and treatments offered firsthand.
Despite the severity of some of the patients’ health conditions, the atmosphere at St. Jude felt like Walt Disney World. The moral was high – even with patients and their families – who were optimistic that they be healed at the hands of the St. Jude team, who have an outstanding track record for returning children to full health.
To culminate its Celebration of Hope Weekend, St. Jude hosted closing dinner where it honored various churches from around the country for their financial contributions to the hospital as part of St. Jude’s Day of Hope church giving campaign. Hosted by TV journalist Roland Martin, the dinner featured performances by Marsha Ambrosius, Jason Nelson and Sheri Jones-Moffett.
Jones-Moffett, a Memphis native, said she can personally relate to the parents of patients at St. Jude after having her own battle with a sick child.
“I was one of these people who was aware of the organization but I didn’t really understand the depth of its importance until I had my own personal crisis with my child. My child didn’t have cancer, but my child was born one-pound, five ounces. To be helpless in that situation and as a parent, wanting to do everything you can to save your child, it may be aware of waht was in my backyard. It made me want to stand up and use the platform that I have to make people aware of this research hospital,” the ‘Encourage Yourself’ singer shared.
Nelson, who in addition to being a Gospel music artist pastors a church in Randallstown, Maryland said he plans to participate in St. Jude’s Day of Hope campaign with his church Greater Bethlehem Temple Church.
“We’re going to do a Day of Hope at my church. I would tell other church leaders to open your heart and open your mind. When you’re dealing with pastors, most of them think they know, but we have to start the conversation by telling them you really have no idea! Your donation big or small is going to make an impact into the lives of so many kids this year, not something that’s going to happen five years down the line, its something that can make an impact right now,” he expressed.
“You’re bracing yourself because you don’t want to be sad because they are healing our children, but you walk in there and its a family atmosphere. You start feeling completely comfortable,” she explained.
The ‘Far Away’ singer was already a financial contributor to St. Jude prior to her Memphis visit and plans to continue supporting the hospital.
“These are real families sitting there. I kept getting questions about how did it impact me, but its what would I do if that was my nephew or my niece or my cousin or my brother,” Ambrosius said.
A who’s who group of radio personalities, industry executives, media professionals and other tastemakers were on hand throughout the weekend pledging to do their part to spread the work and further the mission of the late Danny Thomas.
To determine how you can support the efforts of St. Jude and to learn how to contribute, go to the St. Jude website now.
PHOTOS: Check out images from the St. Jude Celebration of Hope Weekend.