Tri Delta for St. Jude … Since 1999
Each year, St. Jude invites the philanthropy chairs from each Tri Delta chapter around the country to spend a weekend at St. Jude. In February, Carley and I were lucky to be able to attend and learn more about the importance of St. Jude and why our philanthropic contributions matter.
Throughout the weekend, patients, St. Jude staff members and the ALSAC fundraisers were constantly thanking all of us for our efforts in raising money for St. Jude. Before this, I never really understood the true significance of raising money, and it was amazing to see how much our chapters make a difference in the greater community. This weekend helped me see that families who go to St. Jude for treatment never spend a cent. It was extremely emotional to hear patients’ stories about their experiences with cancer; however, each one showed a moment of relief when the family realized that St. Jude would never send them a bill. All of the money Tri Delta raises nationally is used to cover the entire cost of treatment, housing and travel for each patient that walks through the door. It was eye-opening to see how thankful everyone was and it made me realize that all of the money we raise from our philanthropy events goes to something more important than I ever knew.
On the first day, the St. Jude representatives took us on a tour around the entire campus. We walked through the hospital, Tri Delta Place and the other buildings that display information about St. Jude. Seeing the hospital for the first time was incredible because it doesn’t really feel like a hospital. Every room and hallway is decorated in a way to appeal to the children treated there. The lobby has a wall lined with red wagons that the children ride in rather than wheel chairs. The tour guides raved about how the food served at the hospital actually tastes good and is filled with the nutrients the children need. Doctors and nurses also eat side-by-side the patients and families in the cafeteria, which makes the hospital feel like a close community. We also visited Tri Delta Place, which is a hotel that houses short term patients and their families for free. The hotel has special spaces for the children to have fun, like a video game room and a playground. Tri Delta is constantly featured throughout both of these buildings through delta letters, pearls and tri delta colors. All of this pays tribute to our efforts in raising money for St. Jude every year.
The most amazing part of St. Jude to me was seeing and hearing about how much the doctors care about the patients. Each time sick children and their parents walk through the doors of St. Jude, doctors are immediately there to greet them, go through their plan of action, and reassure the family that everything is going to be okay. The doctors are centered around patient family care, and from the patient stories we heard, it’s clear that the doctors go above and beyond to make each family’s experience as comfortable as possible. Each time a child finishes chemotherapy, the doctors throw the child a “no mo chemo” party to celebrate their victory over cancer. Overall, it was obvious that the doctors really care about their patients on a personal level and do whatever they can to make them feel at home. Additionally, the doctors are unbelievably dedicated to treatment. St. Jude has increased the childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80%; however, they will not stop fighting until no child dies from cancer.
Seeing St. Jude in person made the hospital and the unbelievable cause of ending childhood cancer much more real to me. It really became clear that St. Jude is a place unlike any other and it is really special that not only is Tri Delta nationally get to be involved, but that we as a chapter in Fort Worth, Texas are so blessed to be involved in this amazing place too. I am so grateful that this opportunity allowed me to see firsthand what our money goes to, and it fueled my desire to work harder to raise more money to help save the lives of children with cancer.
by Lindsay Fowler, Philanthropy Chair