On Saturday, September 24th, a few MMS colleagues and I participated in the walk for St. Jude to raise funds for children with cancer and their families. This was part of an MMS volunteer opportunity organized and supported through the MMS Volunteer Committee. St. Jude has an amazing mission to help children beat cancer and to fulfill every need of the family during the process: “families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.” More than $127,000 was raised for St. Jude from this event. We were all very glad that we were part of such a great cause that our company supported, and we gained a lot from the experience.
St. Jude began because one man, Danny Thomas, made a vow in a Detroit church to St. Jude that if he showed him his way in life, he would build him a shrine. Once Danny Thomas became one of the biggest celebrities of his day, he kept his promise and used his fame to fulfill his vow. Danny and several other businessmen decided that St. Jude would not just be a general children’s hospital as originally intended but instead one for families and children battling cancer. Since 1962, St. Jude has helped improve the survival rate of childhood cancer from 20% to 80%. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia , the disease with a virtual death sentence in 1962, now has a survival rate of 94 percent.
Being part of such an inspiring cause and event is truly humbling and puts life itself into perspective. Seeing “In Memory Of” t-shirts with children’s faces is not something that I will ever forget. So many people are affected by this hideous disease and somehow manage to stay strong and get through life one day at a time. As we waited for orientation to begin, a man behind me was taking pictures of a large team that he was a part of. I offered to take his picture so that he could be in it as well. I took several pictures and he thanked me. Once orientation began, this same man and his family were called to the stage to tell the story of how they had recently lost their 12 year old son/brother to cancer. They cried tears of sadness for their loss but also were grateful for their experience with St. Jude. They said that even though they had lost their loved one, they wouldn’t have changed any decision they made and knew they were in the best possible care with staff that truly cared and made sure their every need was fulfilled. This experience will always remind me that 1) you never know what the person next to you is going through, and 2) life is too short so don’t sweat the small stuff.