February 14, 2019 By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P.
COUNTDOWN: There are now 699 days remaining in the charlatan Donald Trump’s presidency…
“No child should die in the dawn of life.”
– Danny Thomas –
Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! In celebration of the patron saint of love, I present a tale of one who embodied love in his life: radio, stage, movie, and TV star Danny Thomas. For many years, this entertainer was a hugely successful TV star with his Make Room for Daddy and The Danny Thomas Show TV programs. Prior to that, he had made movie appearances, and even before that, was active in radio, using the name Amos Jacobs. Yet Mr. Thomas was not always a successful Hollywood icon. He was actually born into a poor Lebanese Mennon-ite Catholic immigrant family, as one of 10 children born of those parents. He struggled for a time as a stand-up comic before making it in radio. His early career had many ups and downs, yet Mr. Thomas persevered without losing hope. During one psrticularly low point in the early mid-1950s, he went into a Catholic church and knelt down to pray. He made a vow to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of lost causes, saying “show me my way in life and I will make you a shrine.” He left that church and before long began to discuss his idea with the then-Archbishop (later Cardinal) of Chicago, Fr. Samuel Stritch. Stritch suggested that a children’s hospital for the needy might be a better tribute, snd Thomas listened. He initially wanted the hospital to be in Chicago, where he got his start in show business, but, since Chicago already had an established children’s hospital, the Archbishop suggested a city where there would be greater need. He offered Memphis, TN. as an example.
Invigorated with a newfound zeal and sense of purpose, Mr. Thomas began to furiously raise money to build and staff it. Thomas started up the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) whose sole purpose was to fund and maintain the hospital. He was relentless and eventually achieved success with both his vow and in his career.
In 1962, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital opened its doors to help children in need, through research and to provide medical care. Dr. Donald Pinkel, the hospital’s first director, started a “Total Therapy” study series which proved that a good number of youngsters stricken with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) could be permanently cured. This remarkable man had previously overcome a crippling bout with polio, in which he had to re-learn how to walk again, so he was no stranger to medical miracles. He visited the facility in 1961, while it was still under construction, and decided immediately to become involved with it.
After an initially cool reception, Memphis civic leaders and research scientists were drawn to this worthy project. Early on, the decision was made to battle all childhood cancers rather than just leukemia. A large number of fundraising appeals were undertaken as well as numerous research studies, each of which helped to reverse the death toll childhood cancer had been taking. Whereas, before this hospital had been built, the death rate from childhood cancer was at 80%, today it has been reduced to only 20% – an incredible achievement over the past 57 years! This institution has grown exponentially in scientific stature in that time, and has become internationally known for its many successes! With current daily operating costs of nearly $2.5 MILLION, the ALSAC charity has become the largest healthcare related charity in this country, and is making hope possible for so many families.
A diagnosis of cancer at any age is a frightful thing. Invariably, it proves to be horribly costly as well, considering the steep price of hospitalization, chemotherapy, surgery (if required), and convalesence time. Costs can be a crippling blow to young parents just starting out. The beauty of St. Jude’s is that, the families of children who are accepted there are given free lodging and meals while their child is staying there! The idea is for all concerned to focus on the trestment and hopefully the cure of the stricken child, without having to worry about financial matters. This is possible due to continual fundraising in support of the hospital, and it has proven time and again to be a real boon to the families involved!
Danny Thomas died in 1991, and is buried, as he wished, on the grounds of the facility. Before he passed, he stated, “St Jude was my greatest accomplishment in life.” Thousands of those who were successfully cured there, as well as their parents and a large group of physicians, scientists, and researchers who have served there over the years would all heartily agree.
Today, his daughter Marlo (of 1960s TV “That Girl” fame) is continuing his crusade to keep this institution stable, growing, and financially healthy. She has been visible in a number of TV ads fundraising for St. Jude’s. Now, as we celebrate the patron saint of love, wouldn’t it be beautiful and appropri-ate to give a donati0n to this magnificent research hospital that has saved and given hope to so many over the years?
If you would like to support this worthy endeavor, please donate TODAY by calling toll-free 1-800-822-6344. You will be keeping the treasured memory and heartfelt wish of a great and unselfish person alive, as well as enabling innocent, afflicted children to live a natural life, and you will be more than glad you did! Thank you so very, very much! 🙂
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