Every year, thousands of families receive the devastating news that their child has cancer. Only a few decades ago, mortality rates for pediatric cancer were at an all-time high and a diagnosis left little room for hope. Thankfully, the landscape of childhood cancer has changed due to the groundbreaking research led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude history and mission
The first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, St. Jude has a history of innovation and compassion.
Treatments invented at St. Jude helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent when the hospital first opened in 1962 to more than 80 percent today. Since then, their research increased the survival rates for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) from 4 percent to 94 percent. But their work doesn’t stop there.
Leading the way in clinical research
With so few treatment options available on the market, pediatric cancer is notoriously underfunded. Only two out of 57 cancer therapies for children were approved from 2009 to 2015. Worse yet, only 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s 5 billion dollar budget goes to childhood cancer, while prostate cancer receives more funding from the NCI than all childhood cancers combined.
St. Jude works to bridge this gap in clinical research. The hospital creates and administers more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital and turns laboratory discoveries into lifesaving treatments. Last year alone, the medical and scientific staff published 860 articles in academic journals and are published and cited more often in high impact publications than any other private pediatric oncology institution in America.
Treatment is free — as it should be
In a political climate where healthcare isn’t universally guaranteed, research reveals the average cost of a hospital stay for a child who has cancer can be as much as $40,000. Cancer hospitalizations for children cost five times more than pediatric hospitalizations. The good news is, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. Everyone is looked after, regardless of his or her economic situation.
Supporting childhood cancer research
With so little government funding going towards pediatric cancer research, organizations fighting for the cure need help from people like us. There are plenty of ways to support childhood cancer, like wearing gold in September or volunteering at a pediatric hospital. If you’re planning on raising money to give to a nonprofit like St. Jude, crowdfunding is a powerful tool. It makes it easy to collect donations in one place. And online giving makes supporting your favorite causes easier than ever. For example, if you’re planning on running the St. Jude Memphis Marathon (one of St. Jude’s largest fundraising events of the year), you can raise the registration fees with an online fundraiser. Start your free fundraiser today.
If you’re looking for more ways to get involved, check out these other 12 ways you can support childhood cancer awareness.