VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Marlo Thomas On St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Thanks & Giving Program
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been one of the leading treatment centers to fight childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses that affect children.
Actress, television producer and social activist Marlo Thomas, 81, explained to uInterview what the organization’s mission is and how it strives to improve the lives of children.
“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a research and treatment center under one roof,” Thomas said. “So every child that comes to St. Jude has both a doctor and a scientist working on his or her case, and that’s what so exciting. Every child is getting the benefit and synergy of the research and the care. So they have the best possible chance at saving that child’s life.”
St. Jude’s boasts many celebrity spokespeople who have appeared in advertisements for the organization, including Jennifer Aniston, Michael Strahan and Sofia Vergara. Thomas also described St. Jude’s annual “Thanks & Giving” campaign that is launched around the end-of-year holiday season.
“So this time of year [with] our ‘Thanks & Giving’ campaign, we appeal to the public to give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not. Right now, while we’re busting around buying good things to eat and gifts and trimming trees and all the things that we do this time of year, there are children with their moms and dads just fighting for that child’s life. So we really need your help.”
Thomas then revealed a stunning figure: it costs $2.8 million per day to run St. Jude’s. No child pays for treatment or services of any kind from the organization.
So what does the “Thanks & Giving” program consist of? Thomas explained that by going to partner stores like Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Ann Taylor, Kay Jewelers and Home Goods, customers can give a small donation to St. Jude’s after purchasing any type of holiday gift.
Thomas noted that her father made a promise that this campaign would help children and their families get all the treatment they need, although this is not the only promise he made.
“The other promise my dad made was that all the research we do. all those discoveries would immediately and freely go to the medical and scientific community worldwide,” she revealed.
Full interview transcript below:
Q: What is the St. Jude’s “Thanks and Giving” campaign?
A: [Marlo Thomas]: “Well it’s a time of year where we’re all very happy and having Thanksgiving dinner, having Christmas dinner, buying lots of presents, Hanukah, all the wonderful things that happen this time of year. But there are children and parents who are not running around and shopping and having big dinners. What they’re doing is just trying to save their child’s life at this time and so we decided to point that up and to say to everybody in America ‘give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not’ and that’s really what the thanks and giving campaign is about and it’s important that your audience knows that it costs 2.6 million dollars a day to run St. Jude and nobody pays so for us to be able to do that, we have to raise 75% of our money from the public.
That’s why people call St. Jude Americas hospital because the children come from all over America and people in America, really do help us fund it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to do the work that we do and we wouldn’t be able to keep my fathers’ founding promise that no child will ever be turned away if they couldn’t pay. So sometimes people have insurance, we’re happy to take it but it doesn’t last three years so it’s pretty much on us to do it and we always say, ‘if not St. Jude, who?’ and that’s what, we do and children come to us with diseases that other people don’t know what to do with and so we get most of the very tough cases in this country, because we’re a research center we’re not just a hospital. We’re a research center as well so when a child comes to us we have a doctor and a scientist on each case, and if we don’t know how to cure that disease or if there is no protocol for it now we’ll make one up, we’ll customize one to go with that child’s genome map, we map the genome of every child who comes to St. Jude. This is very exciting, very scientific work these aren’t miracles this is based in science that’s how were able to save so many children’s lives’. So I hope the people that are watching go to some of our stores like; Kay Jewelers or Best Buy or Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn and Homegoods and Ann Taylor and Kmart and Brooks Brothers and so many wonderful stores, we’re going to ask you to make a donation for the children of St. Jude and if you’re not shopping you can also go online to most of those places. You can also um go online to stjude.org or you can uh uh go to text to give I can’t read the number but I think it is: 785833 uh text give to that number 785833 and uh make a donation to St. Jude but however way you do it whether it’s in a store or online uh stjude.org there is not guarantee, there is no insurance to keep your family safe from disease. Just one day anybody can pick up the phone and there’s a diagnosis that just scares the heck out of you and it’s good to know there’s a place to go. And if your child, a grandchild does have a disease that people don’t seem to know what to do with, please go online and punch in St. Jude on the website and see what we’re doing with that particular disease. I don’t want any kid not to have an absolute second chance at life so I beg parents to do that too. This is an awareness campaign as well as a fun- funding campaign so I want parents and th- that’s where we go on the Today Show and we go on The View, Dr. Oz and all those wonderful shows and and uh this as well, on your show to remind people not just to give money but to remind them that there is a place to go if you don’t know where to turn.”