Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Restoring Hope: The inspiration behind St. Jude's

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Amos Kairouz was a man struggling to build a successful career to support his growing family. 

One of nine children of Maronite Catholic immigrants from Lebanon, Kairouz grew up in Ohio. By 1940, Kairouz and his wife, Rose Marie, were expecting their first child. He was finding only moderate success in show business and he knew that he needed help. 

Tapping into his Catholic faith, he remembered a stagehand in Detroit who told him that his wife had made a miraculous recovery from cancer. The stagehand had credited the intercessory prayers of St. Jude for his wife’s healing. 

Kairouz knew that St. Jude had the reputation for being the patron saint of hopeless causes and he truly felt that his situation was hopeless. He began to ask for the saint’s intercession, too, praying for guidance and strength that he might find financial success in order to support his growing family. 

During one of his visits to the statue of St. Jude in a Detroit church, he asked for the saint to give him a sign to let him know whether or not he was on the right path with his career. He placed $7 in the church’s offering box and thought, “I need at least 10 times this.”

The very next day, seemingly out of the blue, Kairouz was offered a gig in a toothbrush commercial. The pay was $75. He saw this event as a sign from God that he was, indeed, on the right path. He knew that St. Jude interceded for him and he made a promise to God that he would “do something big” in St. Jude’s name if was able to find more success. 

In the months after that, Kairous’ show business career began to take off. He adopted the stage name “Danny Thomas,” but he never wavered in his commitment to squeaky-clean entertainment nor in his commitment to honoring the saint whose intercession he credited for his success. 

Danny Thomas, Entertainer and Founder 
of St. Jude's Children Research Hospital

His first “something big” was regular financial contributions to the National Shrine of St. Jude in Chicago. But he dreamed of doing something even bigger, something that would draw the world’s attention to those whose situation seemed “hopeless.”

In 1960, Thomas’ dream became reality when he founded the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Since its founding, the mission of the hospital has been “to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric diseases.” No child is ever denied treatment at St. Jude’s for their family’s inability to pay for care. 

Due to a promise made by a struggling comedian, countless children have been loved and treated by the doctors and staff at St. Jude’s. The medical research at St. Jude’s has yielded amazing results, too: the survival rate from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (the most common type of childhood cancer) has risen from 4 percent in 1962 (when the hospital opened) to 94 percent today. During this same time, the survival rates for all childhood cancers has risen from an average of 20 percent to an average of 80 percent. 

The lesson here is that so much good can be done from commitment to a promise and from devotion to God. St. Jude is truly the patron of hopeless causes because, through his intercession, God seems always ready to restore hope, deepen faith, and heal souls.

If you have just a few dollars to spare, please make a donation to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital today. It's quick, easy, and hope-restoring.