By Brett Martin
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WKRN) – On an average year, more than 7,800 children are treated for various childhood diseases. If you ask one of them, once a hospital comes into your life, it is part of you forever.
“In December of 1987, I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, which is a pediatric bone cancer,” said Joel Alsup, a cancer survivor and employee of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
It has been close to 30 years since he was introduced to the hospital.
“About four months into that treatment, the decision was made to amputate my right arm. I wouldn’t trade my experience at St. Jude for what I have not and that speaks volumes about this hospital,” he told News 2.
Situations like Joel’s are uncommon. According to the American Cancer Society, only about 1,000 people a year are diagnosed with the disease. Thankfully, St. Jude is there to help when kids need it the most.
“They have a great protocol for osteosarcoma,” he said.
With too many to list, that is just one of many childhood cancers and illnesses treated at the hospital.
“What we do now is greatly affecting patients today, but not only patients today, but what is going to be better for patients in the future,” explained Clinical Research Monitor James Sparks.
Sparks says one of the best things about St. Jude is research happening now is given to hospitals around the world to save lives.
“We share our results of these clinical research studies,” he said.
It is not just a fight for kids in Memphis, but a fight to end thousands of childhood cancers.
“We share those results with doctors and physicians everywhere–not just in Tennessee but across the nation and globally,” said Sparks.
All of the research and treatment comes with a cost. According to the hospital, it takes more than $2 million to operate.
“The mission of St. Jude is making sure we have those donor dollars, that we have future treatments for those families.”
St. Jude Heroes like Joel says that is why your help is so important.
“When people are donating to St. Jude, when they are running the Nashville marathon or half-marathon, they are literally helping give children the best moments of their lives,” said Alsup.
According to the hospital, 75 percent of the operating cost is paid for by donations and fundraisers. Fourteen percent is received from insurance and nine percent from grants.
For more information on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, visit their website.