St. Jude Dream Homes; Hope and a Dream

Hope, as defined in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, is a desire accompanied by a specific expectation or belief in fulfillment. Hope is the trait that separates Human Beings from other mammals.

To a child, with a potentially life threatening disease, sometimes, hope is all they have.   St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tennessee was established in 1962 for the sole purpose of conducting basic and clinical research into catastrophic childhood diseases…mainly cancer… and to give its patientsboth hope and the dream of a life free from those diseases.

St. Jude, a non-sectarian hospital, treats all children without regard to race, religion, creed, or ability to pay…openly shares its findings and information with doctors and scientists around the world.  In these times of political turmoil, that is indeed refreshing knowledge.  The various treatment protocols have brought the survival rates for childhood cancers from less than twenty percent to an amazing seventy percent overall!

The basic premise appears to be as simple as children are just that…children…and are the same everywhere.  A powerful, yet basic truth that needs to be both remembered and acted upon by all of us.  At any one time, there are approximately 4,700 patients in active status, affiliated with the hospital, with most treated as outpatients.  Our investment, in children and their mental, emotional, and in this case… physical well-being is an investment in the very essence of Life itself.  It is our responsibility.

The fifty eight beds in the hospital itself are for the patients requiring hospitalization during their individual treatment.  The hospital and staff strive to provide the families with some sense of normalcy during these difficult times and so houses them in the immediate vicinity during their duration at St. Jude.  However, daily operating costs for offering these families hope and a dream of normalcy, again, is close to one million, two hundred thousand dollars each and every day. That’s where the public gets involved.

Over the past three years, eight-five percent of every dollar raised goes to the current or future needs of the hospital.  One of the ways that money is raised is by offering people across the country the opportunity to take a chance on winning a brand, new home.  In 1991, the initial St. Jude Dream Home was created by Dr. Donald Mack, a pediatric physician from Shreveport, Louisiana.  The total dollar amount raised for this home was $160,000 and at the time it seemed unbelievable. The idea took off and now seventeen years later, communities across the country embrace this event.

It doesn’t take a great deal of money to affect a change for others; it takes commitment and follow- through from all.  It takes giving back, even in times that are economically tighter.  The actual winning is the inner feeling of contentment knowing we gave someone both hope…and a dream. Give well.  That makes all the difference.