When I first arrived at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital a couple weeks ago, I heard a few employees talking about their “St. Jude Moment” and how they were excited for us to have our “St. Jude Moment.” The best I could guess was it would be this magical moment that would brand itself on my heart like a hot iron. I figured it would happen quickly. This place, after all, seemed bursting with magic and joy.
As we toured the hospital…
Saw the patient art…
Talked with survivors…
Even as we saw research in action in the labs….
I was touched, moved, inspired, but was I having a moment? Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough or opening my heart enough?
Toward the end of our stay, we got word at the last minute that we would be allowed to quickly walk from the Tri Delta Place,where we were serving hot food to families, to the ALSAC Pavilion, where the high school junior and senior aged patients would be heading to their very own prom that night. We could only stay for a few minutes.
I expected to see the patients, dressed in ball gowns and tuxedos, and possibly cry. And I did, in fact, catch my breath at the sight of a beautiful bald head in a pink dress escape the crowds of beaming parents and cheering doctors to step onto a luxury bus.
But it was when I turned from her to see if I could try to find her parents in the crowd that that hot iron struck my heart and the hot tears poured down my face.
So many faces of hope and joy looked on toward the children, and I couldn’t help but think what a massive moment this must have been for so many parents who heard the diagnosis of “cancer” or other life-threatening illnesses that St. Jude’s treats, and thought they might never get to see the moment that their son or daughter donned formal attire and took off in a limo for a night of dancing with their friends.
There it was. My St. Jude Moment.
I am incredibly honored to be working with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as one of their blogging ambassadors now, and I’m looking forward to bringing you all some more stories of the INCREDIBLE things they are doing, not just for the children they treat at their hospital and clinics throughout the country, but for anyone who benefits from the protocols and research they freely share around the world.
I expected to cry many times at St. Jude’s because of sadness. In fact, all my tears were tears of joy. It is a place filled with happiness and hope, and I am a better person for having experienced it.