Running for Research
When faced with the challenge of running 13.1 miles, my mind was initially filled with self-doubt. But after doing a bit of research into how this challenge could contribute to the lives of so many children, I knew there was no longer a question of whether or not I would accept.
This past weekend I had the honor of running in the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Half Marathon as a St. Jude’s Hero. It was one of the most awe-inspiring events of my life. I had the unique opportunity to tour the hospital the night before the race, and was moved to tears not only by the incredible research being done, but also by the touching moments I witnessed while walking the halls. Inside the hospital (which features a unique air filtration system to rid the building of that distinct “hospital” smell for the comfort of the patients), I walked down one particular hallway that is lined with the artwork of teenage patients. One particular piece truly resonated with me. It was a gold ribbon of hope displayed over what looked like hundreds of hospital bracelets. The weight of the illnesses that these kids are battling was painfully obvious through this piece.
Of course there are countless charities to run for, and countless races to compete in. However, this one is different. It’s important to know some key facts about St. Jude:
- First and foremost, when a child is treated at St. Jude, families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all they should worry about is helping their child live.
- About 7,500 patients are seen at St. Jude annually, most of whom are treated on a continuing outpatient basis and are part of ongoing research programs. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world.
- Patients at St. Jude are referred by a physician, and nearly all have a disease currently under study and are eligible for a clinical trial.
- Some of the current basic and clinical research at St. Jude includes work in: gene therapy, chemotherapy, biochemistry of normal and cancerous cells, radiation treatment, blood diseases, hereditary diseases, influenza, and pediatric AIDS.
- The hospital’s daily operating costs are $2 million, which are primarily covered by public contributions.
This year’s St. Jude Marathon weekend raised $10.5 million dollars, and I am proud to say that I personally raised over $1,130 by way of my generous donors. I am forever changed by seeing first-hand the work being done at St. Jude and feel honored to be employed by a company that helps drive research in clinical trials by easing the burden on patients participating in clinical studies. So moved in fact, that after my half marathon experience, I registered to run the 2018 Chicago Marathon as a St. Jude Hero. I run these races for these kids so that someday they will run alongside me.