Doug’s Journey – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
In January of 2018, my life was forever changed when I visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. It was there that I learned about the mission of the hospital and all that they're doing to save the lives of children.
After just three whirlwind days in Memphis, I walked away knowing in my heart that I must do everything in my power to inform people about what St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does, not only for sick kids, but also for their families, and for their future. Sure, we've all seen the commercials on TV, but here I am, a local girl who had an amazing chance to visit the hospital, and I'm here to tell you that St. Jude is so much more than what we see on television.
On the second day of my visit, Richard Shadyac, President and Chief Executive Officer of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, encouraged those of us in attendance to keep our hearts open to allow ourselves the chance to experience our very own “St. Jude moment.”
Shadyac explained that our St. Jude moment would be the single moment of our visit that would grab and hold our heart harder than any other moment would. At the time, I was so overwhelmed with feelings and information that it was hard for me to comprehend being able to pick just one moment from my trip that would stand out more than the rest. And then it happened.
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That same afternoon, I found myself sitting in the auditorium at St. Jude when a beautiful and vibrant woman took the stage to share her story of being a patient at St. Jude as a child and how her positive experience and healing pushed her to pursue a career with St. Jude as an adult. As she was speaking, I experienced my “St. Jude moment.”
I thought that when my moment happened I would have some sort of an idea that it was coming and that I would be able to check my emotions, but my moment rolled in with no warning. I felt my palms become sweaty and I choked back tears. You see, this precious lady shared that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital isn’t just giving kids hope at surviving, but that they’re giving kids the chance of becoming parents one day.
On the campus of St. Jude Hospital is the Fertility Clinic. Within the walls of this clinic, St. Jude harvests eggs and sperm, storing them until patients reach the age of 35, at no cost to the patient or their family. The reason this nugget tugged so hard at my heart is that in early 2017, I donated my bone marrow to a stranger, a young woman with leukemia, and all I could think about was that if she were a patient at St. Jude, they might have been able to harvest and store her eggs, giving her the opportunity to have her own biological child one day.
So many kids with cancer aren’t able to have biological children because chemotherapy and radiation destroy their sperm and eggs and so the fact that St. Jude takes this into consideration and harvests and stores both is just unbelievable.
Doug Clark, formally of Berkshire, was just 11 years old when he was diagnosed with cancer and suddenly found himself a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Listen as his mom, Beth shares their journey and watch for the incredible and surprising finish.
Would you like to help kids and their families under the care of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital? As a Partner In Hope, you’ll be joining a special community of monthly donors who’ve pledged to help save kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. When you become a Partner in Hope, your monthly donation ensures that families never receive a bill from St. Jude. And the best part? It's easy to give on your terms each month and all donations are tax deductible.