Wednesday, July 19, 2017

St. Jude - Tri Delta Celebration Recap

My hope is that after reading this blog, you are able to feel what I felt during my visit to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. There are truly no words I have to describe what I got out of this amazing experience but here’s my best shot!

My two days spent at the Tri Delta St Jude Celebration were just that – a celebration. In 2014, Tri Delta committed $60 million to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 10 years – the largest commitment a partner has ever made to them. Just 3 years later, they announced at the Celebration that Tri Delta has raised $27 million. $9 million raised a year… all by a group of college women. If that statement doesn’t give you chills, please re-read it because that is definitely something worth celebrating!!! I’ve never felt so much pride in being a Tri Delta woman.

After a day of travel on Wednesday, Thursday started with a patient panel of four brave, young St Jude patients and two of their parents. They were each able to share their inspirational stories and tell us how much St Jude meant to them. We also got to hear of their hopes and dreams after their treatments. A rising fourth grade patient, Lizzy, said that she was most excited to get back to school and see her friends that she hasn’t seen in a while. Luke, an 18-year-old, was a top basketball recruit prior to his diagnosis. Along with sharing his professional basketball aspirations, he and his cousin rapped a song that Luke wrote about St Jude! One of my favorite lines, “I do it for the Jude,” was on repeat in my head throughout the day.

Two members of the patient panel!

Lizzy’s dad spoke of his experience at Tri Delta Place saying that Tri Delta was able to provide his family hope, a bright and inviting place to lay their heads at night and a spot he could get work done as well. I knew that Tri Delta Place was a welcoming place for patients and their families to stay while getting treatment, but it was great to hear firsthand that it was actually making a huge difference in these family’s lives.

Representatives from UK, Clemson, and UofSC!

Following the panel and two other inspiring speakers, we loaded buses and headed to the St Jude campus! We started with a tour of the hospital alongside the representatives from Clemson University and the University of Kentucky. Having toured St Jude two other times with Tri Delta during the weekend, I was unsure what to expect, but this experience was different since it was on a weekday. St Jude attempts to get patients out of the hospital during the weekend so they can live as normal of a life as possible, so it was eye opening to see it fully functional. As we walked through the hallways, it was hard not to notice the huge impact Tri Delta has made there! Hints of Tri Delta were seen throughout the hospital on walls, murals, the floor, our patient care floor and the Teen Room as well that we have dedicated. After three years and three visits, I can say that St Jude is not like a normal hospital – there is no “hospital smell” or plain white walls. Just being there gives you a sense of hope and happiness and leaves you feeling extremely inspired. 

The next stop was Tri Delta Place, a state of the art on campus housing option where patients and their families can stay free of charge. Tri Delta had the honor of sponsoring the building after making our $60 million commitment. Upon walking in, I immediately felt comfortable and at home. Like the hospital itself, the space was bright and inspiring. It was surreal seeing that Tri Delta was able to again make such a huge impact at St Jude by providing 100 rooms for the families to comfortably stay just a few steps from the hospital.

Notice the delta shaped lamp, groups of three, and shades of blue!

While on tour of the hospital, our tour guide told us that that most common type of pediatric cancer, ALL, costs around $400,000 to treat. After some simple math, it struck me that our Alpha Lambda chapter helped fund one fourth of a child’s treatment for cancer in this year alone. I left the Celebration feeling inspired, humbled, and prideful. I look forward to another semester serving as my chapter’s philanthropy chair – raising as much money as possible and spreading the word about this amazing organization! The Tri Delta - St Jude Celebration and the hospital itself will forever hold a special place in my heart.

If you feel compelled to do so, here is a link to donate to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in our chapter’s name:

Delta love and all of mine, Madison Hoover  

A statue of Danny Thomas, the founder of St Jude Children's Research Hospital.
It's said that if you rub the nose, you'll have good luck!

Tegan, Hallie, and I (notice the dolphins on the floor!!).

Patient art work was displayed throughout the hospital.

The "ABC's of Cancer," a bright addition to the hospital created by patients.

Flags in the Research Center, each flag representing the
home country of doctors and researchers at the hospital. St Jude
freely shares discoveries, so every child saved at St Jude means
 doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge
to save thousands more children! 

The hallways are covered in unique and fun designs!

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