Was walking past the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon on Clemenceau Street, and it made me think back to when I used to intern at the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) division of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Miami. At the time, I didn’t know what ALSAC stood for..but when I think back, it now makes sense why our fridge was always fully stocked with Lebanese and Syrian sweets.
I mentioned to my friends that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital..(the one in Tennessee)..was founded by a Lebanese man by the name of Danny Thomas. None of them seemed to be aware of that fact..so I thought I would share that tidbit of information with all of you, just in case you weren’t aware either. It’s definitely something to be proud of!
For those of you unfamiliar with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,
Founded in 1962, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is a leading pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children’s catastrophic diseases. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, the mission of St. Jude is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. At St. Jude, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family’s ability (or inability) to pay.
St. Jude was founded by Danny Thomas, a nightclub comedian and television and film actor, on the premise that “no child should die in the dawn of life.” Thomas was born Amos Alphonsus Muzyad Yakhoob in Deerfield, Michigan, son of Charles Yakhoob and his wife Margaret Christen. His parents were Maronite Catholic immigrants from Lebanon. Thomas first performed under his Anglicized birth name, “Amos Jacobs”, before choosing the stage name, “Danny Thomas”, which were the names of two of his brothers.
Thomas named the hospital for Saint Jude Thaddeus, the Catholic patron saint of hospitals, desperate cases, and lost causes. Thomas was a struggling young entertainer when he knelt in a Detroit church before a statue of St. Jude Thaddeus and asked the saint to “show me my way in life and I will build you a shrine.”
Thomas believed his prayers had been answered, and he soon moved his family to Chicago to pursue career offers. In 1957, Thomas founded the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), which helped him realize his dream. ALSAC is also the fundraising arm of St. Jude. Since St. Jude opened its doors in 1962, ALSAC has been responsible for raising the necessary funds to keep the hospital open. [credit]
So, there you go! If you didn’t know..now you know!
Thanks to ‘Danny Thomas,’ discoveries at St. Jude have completely changed how doctors treat children with cancer and other catastrophic illnesses. With research and patient care under one roof, St. Jude is where some of today’s most gifted researchers are able to do science more quickly. Since St. Jude was established, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer, has increased from 4% in 1962 to 94% today.
St. Jude has treated children from all across the United States and from more than 70 countries. Doctors all over the world consult with St. Jude on their toughest cases. St. Jude has an International Outreach Program to improve the survival rates of children with catastrophic illnesses worldwide through the transfer of knowledge, technology, and organizational skills. [credit]
To visit The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s website, click here.