Giving Back

St. Jude is a leading children’s hospital pioneering research and treatments for kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

The History of St. Jude Children’s Hospital

St. Jude was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas in 1962, with help from Lemuel Diggs and close friend, Miami, Florida, automobile dealer Anthony Abraham, on the premise that “no child should die in the dawn of life”. This idea resulted from a promise that Thomas, a Maronite Catholic, had made to a saint years before the hospital was founded. Thomas was a comedian who was struggling to get a break in his career and living paycheck to paycheck. When his first child was about to be born, he attended Mass in Detroit and put his last $7.00 in the offering bin. He prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus for a means to provide for his family, and about a week later, he obtained a gig that paid 10 times what he had put in the offering bin. After that time, Thomas believed in the power of prayer. He promised St. Jude Thaddeus that if he made him successful, he would one day build him a shrine. Years later, Thomas became an extremely successful comedian and built St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a shrine to St. Jude Thaddeus to honor his promise. In 1957, Thomas founded the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), which helped him realize his dream. ALSAC is also the fundraising organization of St. Jude. Since St. Jude opened its doors in 1962, ALSAC has had the responsibility of raising the necessary funds to keep the hospital open. Memphis was chosen at the suggestion of Roman Catholic Cardinal Samuel Stritch, a Tennessee native who had been a spiritual advisor to Thomas since he presided at Thomas’s confirmation in Thomas’s boyhood home of Toledo, Ohio.

Although it was named after Thomas’s patron saint, St. Jude is not a Catholic hospital and not affiliated with any religious organization.

In 1980, when eight special operations warriors lost their lives during a hostage rescue attempt in Iran, a promise was made to provide a college education to each of the surviving 17 children. Today, the Foundation continues this solemn pledge to educate every child whose special operations parent loses their life in the line of duty.

Special Operations Warrior Foundation continues to honor a pledge and a commitment to the men and women serving in U.S. Special Operations that if they lose their lives in the line of duty, SOWF will provide a post-secondary education for their surviving children. The financial resources necessary to honor our pledge has been determined by a third party actuarial firm to be over $180 million dollars.

Sadly, last year 36 special operations service members died and they left behind 54 children. The number of children added to our programs continues to grow, along with the number of special operations missions. Therefore, we must continue our fundraising efforts to meet the anticipated need for scholarships.

The American Red Cross is a nationwide network of more than 650 chapters and 36 blood services regions dedicated to saving lives and helping people prepare for and respond to medical emergencies. Approximately 500,000 Red Cross volunteers, including FemaCorps and AmeriCorps members, and 30,000 employees annually mobilize relief to people affected by more than 67,000 disasters, train almost 12 million people in necessary medical skills and exchange more than a million emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their family members. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to more than 3,000 hospitals nationally and also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts at locations worldwide. In 2006 the organization had over $6 billion in total revenues. Revenue from blood and blood products alone were over $2 billion.

Supporters, volunteers, and employees of the American Red Cross provide compassionate care in five critical areas:

  • People affected by disasters in America
  • Support for members of the military and their families
  • Blood collection, processing, and distribution
  • Health and safety education and training
  • International relief and development