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The work that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is doing for young cancer patients from around the world remains an amazing example of dedication and compassion. Founded in 1962 by late actor Danny Thomas, the hospital was one of a few racially integrated facilities at a time when race relations in America were extremely tense.

The Memphis, Tenn. facility has managed to close a gap in the survival rates of Black and white cancer patients in comparison to other treatment centers.

Historically, Black cancer patients have had a lower survival rate than their white counterparts. Several factors could be at play such as social status, access to care, and an inability to afford expensive treatment options. St. Jude eliminates much of that worry by providing patients of all races and their families adequate care and support as they combat the disease.

In a 15-year study conducted by St. Jude, the data found that Black and white patients at the center had a similar survival rate. When compared to other hospitals, the study showed that the gap between Black and white cancer survivors widened. In fact, St. Jude found in its study that regardless of race, patients enjoyed a near-equal rate of survival.

This hammers home the point of St. Jude – which is to provide high-quality treatment free of cost for any patient that walks through its doors regardless of race, religion, creed or status. This commitment that has been ongoing for 55 years is a shining example of Thomas’ generosity and spirit.

PHOTO: St. Jude

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Little Known Black History Fact: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital  was originally published on