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It began in a small church in Detroit, Michigan, when entertainer Danny Thomas prayed to the forgotten saint of hopeless causes. “Show me my way in life and I will build you a shrine.” From these humble beginnings, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC, the hospital’s fundraising organization, have rewritten medical and fundraising textbooks.
Thomas was a struggling comedian who had reached a crossroads in his life when he made his prayer to St. Jude. Should he continue to strive for his dream of show business success or should he give up his dream and find a steady job that would provide for his family? At his moment of uncertainty, St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, entered his life.
Soon after his prayer in that Detroit Church, Thomas began receiving job offers for radio plays, then television commercials and eventually in the new medium of television as the star of Make Room for Daddy. But through all his success, Thomas did not forget his prayer to St. Jude. He intended to follow through on his promise. Initially, Thomas conceived of a children’s hospital.
In 1957, Thomas and more than 100 others who had joined his cause met in the Morrison Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, where they drafted a constitution and by-laws for the “non-profit, non-sectarian, charitable corporation titled ALSAC … dedicated to the parable of the Good Samaritan, to love and care for our neighbor, regardless of color or creed.” ALSAC was officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation on November 1, 1957 by the state of Illinois.
"As ALSAC celebrates its 50th anniversary, we recognize the organization's unwavering support for St. Jude," said John P. Moses, chief executive officer for ALSAC, which was established for the sole purpose of raising funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
“We are immensely proud of the fact that no child has ever been turned away from St. Jude because of an inability to pay. And we at ALSAC know that our success – and the success of the hospital – has been solely dependent on the kindness and generosity of our donors.
ALSAC was founded on the principle of the Good Samaritan. We have been fortunate to know and call as friends hundreds of thousands of good-hearted donors in our half-century of service.”
Your donation makes a real difference
The daily operating cost for St. Jude is nearly $1.8 million, which is primarily covered by public contributions
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