I found joy at St. Jude’s and lots of it.

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, founded by Danny Thomas in Memphis, TN- a big shoutout to my Lebanese friends and my mom, who loved Marlo Thomas… hence my frequent references to all things “Free to Be You and Me!”

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, founded by Danny Thomas in Memphis, TN- a big shoutout to my Lebanese friends and my mom, who loved Marlo Thomas… hence my frequent references to all things “Free to Be You and Me!”

American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities- ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities- ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Me and Danny Thomas!

Me and Danny Thomas!

I thought I would cry the whole time. I packed a pallet of tissues and worked to steel myself.

But, my tour last week through St. Jude’s Research Hospital was one of the most joyful experiences of my life.

The walls are painted in beautiful murals representing the seasons of life, and of healing.

The walls are painted in beautiful murals representing the seasons of life, and of healing.

They say God is in the details. At St. Jude’s, hope is in the details, in the little things that make such a big difference to families who are looking for, clinging to, any sign of hope. There is a sense of joy that comes with the kind of effort that has been made here to show love and caring toward families who so deeply need it.

ALSAC Goddesses Laura and Nicole show off one of their favorite walls of the hospital, and their little racoon friend!

ALSAC Goddesses Laura and Nicole show off one of their favorite walls of the hospital, and their little racoon friend!

These registration desks are kid-sized so children know from the start that this experience is all about their well being and care.

These registration desks are kid-sized so children know from the start that this experience is all about their well being and care.

I became involved with St. Jude’s when my beautiful, brilliant and big-hearted friend Susan Rosko Fogarty invited me and to be a Founding Member of the 100 Women of St. Jude in our local area. I went to a breakfast where she talked about her own experience with St. Jude’s, and I was ‘in’!

This musical staircase changes tune and sound weekly.

This musical staircase changes tune and sound weekly.

St. Jude’s is the world leader in understanding, treating and defeating childhood cancer and other diseases.

This ‘Kafe’ sponsored by Kay Jewelers, offers healthy food literally grown in the garden on site, so that nutritional value is not lost in the transportation of fresh fruits and veggies. No processed foods either!  The Chef here has been known to hide beets and kale in brownies and call kids’ grandmas to get the secret recipe for their favorite dishes, so they will eat and grow stronger.

This ‘Kafe’ sponsored by Kay Jewelers, offers healthy food literally grown in the garden on site, so that nutritional value is not lost in the transportation of fresh fruits and veggies. No processed foods either! The Chef here has been known to hide beets and kale in brownies and call kids’ grandmas to get the secret recipe for their favorite dishes, so they will eat and grow stronger.
Families never, ever get a bill from St. Jude’s. Not ever. St. Jude’s covers food, housing and travel because they want families to only have to worry about their child getting better.

St. Jude’s freely shares all scientific breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude’s means doctors and scientists can use those protocols to save an average of 1000 more children. 1000.

Art and color and vibrancy are everywhere.

Children travel around the hospital in wagons- much more fun than wheelchairs!

Children travel around the hospital in wagons- much more fun than wheelchairs!

One hallway holds an exhibit of children’s poetry based on letters of the alphabet

One hallway holds an exhibit of children’s poetry based on letters of the alphabet

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The artwork for each letter is changed periodically- except for ‘V’- it always stays the same. Man, it DOES suck to upchuck!

The Teen Art Gallery is home to more Courage than I can describe. Ever.

The Teen Art Gallery is home to more Courage than I can describe. Ever.

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I was so very proud to see the generosity of Price Chopper and the Golub family there. Thank you for all you do for the health and happiness of our community! I am a Price Chopper Shops4U LOVER (I really appreciate you, Mariann and Amy and Robert!), but after seeing our community so generously represented, I will never shop anywhere else- and that’s a lotta groceries for our big family!

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Nicole Spath, our wonderful local ALSAC representative, is so grateful to Neil and Jane Golub and the Golub Family Foundation

Nicole Spath, our wonderful local ALSAC representative, is so grateful to Neil and Jane Golub and the Golub Family Foundation

Beautiful children are everywhere

Beautiful children are everywhere

There is even a teen prom!

There is even a teen prom!

One mother’s true super hero

One mother’s true super hero

Parenting can be challenging and frustrating- and joyful and fun. But, sometimes it’s the kind of hard we all fear the most. The kind of hard that haunts us, makes us worry over the little sniffle, or extra tiredness. We need each other as parents, we just do. The number of parents I met at St. Jude’s who said, “if it weren’t for St. Jude, my child would not have lived” was incredible. Those parents need us, and we need them. They give us a chance to pay forward our blessings. There is a Jewish prayer for healing that says, “help us find the Courage to make our lives a blessing.” These St. Jude families, and staff members- they are making their lives a blessing, and I am better, we are all better, because of it.

If you would like to be one of the Founding 100 Women of St. Jude, please email me at Corey@coreyjamison.com.

Do you have a St. Jude connection? I always love to hear your stories! @CoreyJamisonLLC

This blog was originally published by the Times Union and can be accessed here.

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