Thursday, December 11, 2008
Day 11- St. Jude
Today I had the great privilege of visiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for the very first time, both girls in tow, to meet a beautiful, wonderfully sweet baby girl and her mama. Baby V and her mom invited us to go to two of her appointments to get a taste of what her daily routine often is like, and in between we were able to walk around and soak in the atmosphere and attitude of this amazing hospital. I can tell you that I was totally blown away by the experience, with two things in particular standing out to me during our time there.
To begin with, it was haven to the families receiving care. The walls, the art, the waiting rooms-all of it was geared toward making those children feel comfortable and at home. In fact, we hadn't been there three minutes before Marianna was asked to join in with a group of kids painting snow on construction paper in one of the waiting areas. I can't do justice to the atmosphere, but suffice it to say it was welcoming and warm and in stark contrast to every other hospital environment I've ever been in.
The second thing I couldn't help but pick up on was the hope of the people who were there. In a situation where it seems like fear would be the most palpable emotion present, hope was everywhere. I could see that even in the very serious situations all around me, people had not despaired. I know that doesn't mean that there's not real anxiety and fear involved. Quite the contrary, I know that's a reality that many have to face every single day. But even so, hope was present and I felt it.
The entire visit melted my heart and gave me a HUGE appreciation for St. Jude and what it strives to do for the children who come, from literally every corner of the world, to receive the best care available. I'm thrilled that such a place is here in my city. Something we Memphians can be very proud of indeed.