Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Most Magical Place IS St. Jude In Memphis

Even before I had cancer, I was running for the kids of St. Jude, after having it and beating it will continue with more motivation than ever before to help these kids and families fight this awful disease.

Just before Thanksgiving I was able to tour the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee and if I had to describe the place in one word it would simply be 'magical'. Many people have said "I would have cried." or "Didn't it make you sad?" and even "I don't think I could handle seeing all those sick kids." and I felt the same way, up until I walked up to the building and was greeted by the statue of St. Jude Thaddeus. 

The entrance to the hospital.

We were lucky to have toured on the Monday before Thanksgiving as they had many events going on; the Today Show was there with Marlo Thomas (daughter of founder Danny Thomas) to kick of the Give Thanks Campaign, they were holding the naming of a horse donated by the Memphis Police Department (the horse was appropriately named Jude) and there lots of kids in for treatment before the Thanksgiving holiday.

St. Jude is truly a place created for children its not your average hospital where everyone looks sick, sad, bored and unhappy to be there. Every inch of every wall is brightly colored and through each hallway you travel through the seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. You will see children laughing, playing games and the kids are the ones that will be checking in, desks are made to their height and they are the ones asked questions. In a normal hospital you'd never see kids pushing around wheelchairs laughing and having fun, OK well you have but they normally get in trouble for doing so but not here, that kind of stuff is encouraged. You see crafts being held and a giant ginger bread house being created.

This is the ginger bread house that was being built.

Teenagers have their own rooms and little kids and adults are absolutely forbidden, parents can try to come in but as we were told, security will come after them and kick them out. The teen rooms are just that, teen rooms, a place of their own.  

I was told Halloween is the BEST time to be at St. Jude because they go all out for it. I saw probably a hundred kids all of them with maybe the exception of TWO had smiles on their faces and even with their bald heads you could see they were filled with hope. It is so amazing to see that this place was build on love, I know that sounds corny, but it's true. Donations = love and ST. Jude was built and saves lives and gives hope because of donations, something I always knew but never was able to quite put into perspective until yesterday.

I learned so many things about St. Jude and over the  next year as I embark on my third St. Jude run I will be sharing them with you. Trust me you want to hear them and will be glad I waited to share them.

It's really hard to believe that St. Jude was at one time just a vision of Danny Thomas and to see the facility has has built upon, the lives that he has saved and miracles he fostered, yes I agreed St. Jude really IS the most magical place on earth.

I was told that when you are supposed to rub Danny's nose for good luck so that's what I did.