Unsure of his direction in life, a young Danny Thomas prayed to a statue of St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes.

If the saint would point to the path he should take, Danny vowed to build a shrine in his name. Success followed Danny’s plea and soon after, the legendary entertainer set about fulfilling his vow to St. Jude. The result was St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

On February 4, 1962, Danny Thomas unveiled a statue of St. Jude Thaddeus, officially opening the doors of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to children around the world.

Since that day, St. Jude has changed the way the world looks at childhood cancer and other catastrophic disease.

Here are a few facts:

  • In 1962, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer, was 4 percent. Today, the survival rate for this once deadly disease is 94 percent, thanks to research and treatment protocols developed at St. Jude.
  • On average, 7,800 active patients visit the hospital each year, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis.
  • St. Jude has 78 inpatient beds and treats upwards of 260 patients each day.
  • St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.
  • St. Jude recently completed an extensive expansion program that bolstered the hospital’s research and treatment efforts, while more than doubling the size of its original campus. The campus now has 2.5 million square feet of research, clinical and administrative space dedicated to finding cures and saving children. The expansion included the Children’s GMP, LLC, currently the nation’s only pediatric research center on-site facility for the research and production of highly specialized treatments and vaccines; an expanded Department of Immunology; and a new Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics for discovery of new drugs. shared freely with doctors and scientists all over the world.
That prayer to St. Jude marked a pivotal moment in his life and in the lives of so many people he never even met. Inside of this great hospital, Danny Thomas' dream that, "no child should die in the dawn of life" is still alive.