Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why We Support St. Jude: Kids Like Phoebe

We receive regular newsletters from the charities we support. These often relate stories of the kids of St. Jude, life-saving stories of kids getting another chance at life, stories of parents given the gift of hope after others had given up on their children, stories that tell why we run and raise money for this great institution.

These stories do a better job of explaining why we support St. Jude than any words I could ever pen. Please read the story of young Phoebe below and help us support St. Jude and SAVE KIDS' LIVES!

Phoebe hadn't been able to do many things before coming to St. Jude. Now, St. Jude doctors are giving her the chance to experience those special moments.

When 14-month-old Phoebe arrived at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in October 2011, there were many things she had never done: She had never been to day care or the park or the zoo. Phoebe had never run through the grass with her older sister, Mae, and she had never been to the grocery store. Phoebe had also never enjoyed food; instead, her nutritional needs were met through a nasogastric (NG) tube that sent food directly to her stomach.

Phoebe had spent most of her life in hospitals.

At just 9 weeks old, Phoebe was found to suffer from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Although ALL has a survival rate of 94 percent, Phoebe’s parents, Jenny and Jon, clung desperately to hope, because infant ALL is often a more deadly form of leukemia. She underwent treatment, including a bone marrow transplant, in Canada, her family’s home.

When Phoebe relapsed just 76 days post-transplant, her family was devastated. Phoebe’s doctors told Jenny and Jon to take her home, that there was likely nothing more to be done.

“That wasn’t an option for us,” said Jenny. “You don’t go from fighting something like this to giving up.” Instead, they turned to St. Jude. Within days, she and her family had arrived in the United States.

At St. Jude, Phoebe underwent a natural killer (NK) cell transplant in December 2011. NK cells are special cells in the immune system that target cancer cells.

“Traditional treatment hadn’t worked,” said Jenny, who served as her daughter’s NK cell donor. “We knew we needed something more.”

Within weeks of her transplant, Phoebe was in complete remission.

Phoebe’s treatment has also included physical and occupational therapies. “Before we came to St. Jude, Phoebe wouldn’t stand on her own, and now she’s standing,” said Jenny. “She basically had an NG tube her entire life. Now she doesn’t. She’s eating, she’s talking. Here at St. Jude, it’s about treating the whole child. It’s amazing.”

On a recent afternoon, Jenny and Jon watched Phoebe and her older sister, Mae, color. Free of her NG tube, Phoebe took a handful of orange, animal-shaped crackers, lined them up carefully on the coffee table in front of her, and ate the crackers one-by-one. By the time she was finished, orange cracker crumbs littered the front of Phoebe’s shirt and the floor beneath her. There were crumbs in her hair and on Mae’s artwork.

Jenny and John love these normal moments.

"We’re looking forward to being at home and doing every day family things, like bike rides and picnics," Jenny said.

This past weekend, Phoebe experienced another first, a moment her mother treasures. Phoebe and Mae participated in an Easter egg hunt with other patients and their siblings. "She was a natural," Jenny said. "She didn’t hesitate at all getting in there. To see Phoebe doing something as simple as participating in an egg hunt with her sister and other kids was wonderful."

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"--Matthew 25:40

St. Jude is a fantastic organization dedicated to saving kids' lives, kids like little Phoebe. When you donate through our fundraising page, we don't get a dime. Every penny goes to St. Jude!

Also, your gifts bring attention to our cause. Giving to St. Jude through our page helps us spread the word about the dangers of teen substance abuse, helps us spread the Good News that Jesus Christ offers hope in seemingly hopeless situations, and helps us keep the memory of our beautiful daughter alive!

Your gift, large or small, will go a long way and accomplish a great deal. So please, give what you can today to St. Jude!

Thank you and God bless you.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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