Great River Road 28 - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

We took up a blog reader’s “weird” offer and came away blessed.

This happens less often than you might think. And less often than we’d prefer.

Offers of visits, meals and tours from blog readers are hard to coordinate.  We’re a moving target with an uncertain and oft-changing schedule. Other folks have their own lives filled with work, school, family and volunteer commitments.

But once in a while things all connect.

I know a tour of a hospital sounds weird…but after working here for 7 years I’m still amazed (and its steeped in rich history).Blog Reader Amber

So ran a comment in an early post on our plans to follow the Mississippi River from top to bottom.

Travelers Not Tourists

I have a hard time saying this without sounding snobby - but we are travelers not tourists.
Yes, we do (at times) take in the tourist attractions. Even here in Memphis we have watched the ducks and had BBQ & Blues on Beale Street.

But we also love getting views into other worlds that are new to us. We’ve spent time on a Texas ranch, helped at a book-launch party for authors we had just met, and had Sunday dinner with Reality TV Show stars for a show we had never seen.

So no, a hospital tour actually didn’t sound weird at all.

The Hospital

I had a basic awareness of St. Jude - mainly from seeing various fund-raising efforts over the years.

I had assumed it was a Catholic organization and didn’t know much past that. I guess that’s a good thing when it comes to hospitals?

Anyway - upon getting to Memphis we saw that there was a Danny Thomas Place and a Danny Thomas Pavilion so it was a bit of a revelation that the entire effort was started by Danny Thomas in the early 1960’s.

It’s not a Catholic Organization at all, but rather named after a Saint that Danny Thomas prayed to while a young man and in dire financial straights. Read more about the History of St. Jude.

A Small City

The Hospital serves all faiths and has grown to become mostly a city unto itself. In addition to the expected medical facilities the Hospital also has on-site:

  • Housing
  • Schools
  • Gardens
  • Chapels
  • Cafe
  • Security
  • Drug Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Security

All of this is geared around fulfilling its core mission of providing treatment and research of catastrophic children’s diseases at no cost to the patients or families.


St. Jude

St. Jude

Looking up in one of the St. Jude buildings.

Looking up in one of the St. Jude buildings.

Double-handset phone so two people who don't share a language can call a translator.

Double-handset phone so two people who don't share a language can call a translator.

This photo really spoke to MsBoyink.

This photo really spoke to MsBoyink.

The resting place of Danny Thomas.

The resting place of Danny Thomas.

Sombre, Yet Smiling

Make no mistake - we were at a hospital.

We saw families waiting, quietly cradling their children. We saw cancer survivors bravely making their way through the hospital corridors.

But I also took note of a 10-ish year old boy, beaming as he wheeled his way across a lobby. Whether he was happy to see a family member or had just gotten a positive report from a doctor - I don’t know, but I smiled at his smile.

Cancer Sucks

Cancer sucks. My own mother is a survivor, recently getting through her second round of Chemo. I don’t like what it’s done to her or the pain and hassle it’s caused in my parents autumn years.

Visiting St. Jude, hearing the passion of our tour guides in telling the organization’s story, hearing of the cure-rate success they’ve had in different areas, and seeing the efforts they are continuing to put into their work.

It gives hope.

And not many museum or attraction tours do that.

Did You Know?

Did you know about St. Jude and what it was about?

3 Comments Great River Road 28 - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

  1. Picture of Kerri Kerri November 10, 2015

    I have had two students receive treatments from this wonderful facility and would have never thought to tour it. Interesting post! So thankful for the work they do for our children.

  2. Picture of Amber Amber November 10, 2015

    Thanks for the feature!  We greatly enjoyed the time we got to spend with you and your family.  Hope our birthday pie was delicious!

  3. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink November 11, 2015

    @kerri - glad you read and definitely stop by if you get the chance.

    @amber - absolutely! Thanks again..and the birthday pie was one of those “better the next day” pies. Good, but probably not a repeat..;)

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