I was prompted by my Journey book about a charity or cause that I believe in. There were many that sprang to mind. Amnesty International is a cause that I truly believe in and support to this day, but I think that the one to convince me to actually support any cause or charity must be St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.
As I grew up in a small town in Western Kentucky, one of my friends became very sick. I wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong with him, but he seemed to be wasting away before my very eyes. Along with his other friends, we all wondered what was going on, and we wanted to help in any way that we could. As our friend missed more and more school, and went to different hospitals, we eventually heard the word “leukemia” and our hearts sank. Even though we didn’t understand exactly what it meant we could tell by the hushed tones that the adults used that it wasn’t good at all.
Then a day came when I went to visit my friend. I found his family packing their car and I asked where David was. They told me that he had been taken to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis and that they were going to be with him. Since Memphis was about 300 miles away, it seemed like they were taking him to Mars. I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye before he left, and that broke my heart.
I learned that St. Jude’s never charged David’s family a dime for the treatment he received, nor for their trip to Memphis or the lodging to stay there. AS I grow older, that type of selflessness impresses me more and more.
Sadly, the leukemia in David was too advanced for treatment, and David returned home after a month in Memphis. I was able to spend time with him before he slipped away and that made all the difference in the world.
David was only 18 when he died. Since it was 1983, there was no social media to remember him by. To this day only a few cached old obituary articles remain. I will always respect and support St. Jude’s because of the love and support they gave to David and his famnily all those years ago.