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The Mission and Passion Behind St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude’s Research Hospital in Central Islip, NY

Entertainer Danny Thomas opened the first St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on February 4, 1962. Since then, the non-profit organization has treated children from all 50 states and around the world, including in Fairfield and Westchester counties. The majority of St. Jude’s funding comes from individual contributions, so that families who are seeking treatment do not have to pay for it. The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.

“Because St. Jude freely shares its discoveries, one child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists can use that knowledge to save thousands more,” says Laura Wallenstein, regional director in New York and New Jersey. “We are
helping people realize a cancer diagnosis should not be a child’s only defining moment. St. Jude doctors and researchers are doing everything they can to help kids survive cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Morgan West and her parents

Morgan West of Long Island was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, but today, she is six years old and continues to be in remission. “When Morgan was diagnosed, we were told that she would have no more than two years to live,” says her mother, Nikki West. “St. Jude gave us hope when no other hospital could. St. Jude is full of extraordinary doctors, nurses, staff, families and patients who inspire you to fight and never, ever give up hope. Thanks to St. Jude, Morgan has been going strong for four years now!” She adds, “We knew within minutes of walking into St. Jude that it was the place Morgan and our entire family needed to be.” For the Wests and many other families, the hospital wasn’t just a place where their child was treated, but it became their second home. “When your child is diagnosed with cancer, all of your energy needs to be focused on them, not on how you are going to pay all of their medical expenses.  When they become a patient at St. Jude, not only is your child getting the best care in the world, but they are getting it free of charge.”

Everyone behind the organization believes that all a family should worry about is helping their child live. With a budgeted daily operating cost of $2 million, approximately 75 percent of the costs are offset by public contributions. The St. Jude Connecticut Network, as well as the hospitals in New York and New Jersey, encourages and supports a host of diverse fundraising activities, from fall harvest music festivals to golf tournaments to teams running the Boston Marathon for the cause. The network strives to unify fundraising efforts to maximize effectiveness, and ultimately help as many children as possible.

Go to to:
Donate. Become a Partner in Hope (donating monthly). If you wish, your donation may benefit a specific patient.
Dedicate a Brick. The St. Jude pathway (bricks starting at $1,000) leads to the Kay Research and Care Center, home of the hospital’s cutting-edge proton therapy center.
Shop. Proceeds from St. Jude gift shop, which features gifts, jewelry and more, benefit the hospital’s programs.

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