St. Jude's Research Hospital
Marlo Thomas is an American actress, producer and a Cause Celeb regular. She is best known for her role on the TV series That Girl in which Thomas won a Golden Globe and was nominated for 4 Emmys. She won an Emmy for the children’s TV special Free to be…You and Me which is produced and starred in as well as the special Nobody’s Child in which she won a Best Actress Emmy. Thomas has made many other TV and film appearances including Frasier, Friends, Ally McBeal, Law & Order: SVU, Ugly Betty and many more.
Sabrina Soto has made appearances as host of various HGTV shows including The High Low Project, Real Estate Intervention and Get It Sold. She’s made guest appearances on White House Christmas, HGTV’s Green Home, Band For Your Buck, House Hunters, Showdown, Buying & Selling Secrets and HGTV’d. It’s obvious that Soto is an expert on all things home related and continues to help people redesign their homes. She’s one of the most sought after design experts and has been featured in Elle Décor, People, Time Magazine, InStyle, Esquire and USA Today. She also makes appearances and has contributed to The Today Show, Rachel Ray and Nate Berkus Show among many others.
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital was founded in 1962 by the late Danny Thomas. His vision from the beginning was to be the world leader in advancing treatment and prevention of catastrophic diseases in children. They make this happen by providing outstanding patient care, conducting basic translational and clinic research, improving diagnosis, enhancing treatment outcome and by educating health care and scientific research professionals. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a families ability to pay. For the past 7 years, St. Jude’s has launched their Thanks and Giving Campaign with their corporate partners Kmart, CVS/pharmacy, Dicks’ Sporting Goods, Williams-Sonoma Inc. and Sterling Jewelers. The campaign is in support of St. Jude’s mission of finding cures for kids battling cancer and other deadly diseases.
Introduction By: Meg Zrini
Interview Conducted Via Email By: Giacinta Pace
Q. What is new with the St. Jude Thanks & Giving campaign this year?
St, Jude's Children's Hospital
St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign featuring Marlo Thomas with patients Sheidelys and Donovan (left to right
Marlo: We are so excited to be celebrating the ninth year of the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign. Once again, from November to December, more than 60 leading brands have been asking their customers to “Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not.” Consumers can make a donation at checkout or purchase special merchandise that benefits St. Jude. In addition to our wonderful returning partners -- like Kmart, CVS/pharmacy, ANN INC., DICK’S Sporting Goods and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. -- new brands have joined the campaign, from Coca-Cola, Carnival Cruise Lines and Coldwater Creek to ICING and the online retailer Gifts That Give. And everyone’s been so terrifically creative with their awareness and fundraising ideas! Kmart hosted shopping sprees with St. Jude patients; Coca-Cola included St. Jude as a benefactor of its My Coke Rewards program; Kay Jewelers and New York & Company have run Facebook campaigns; and many partners -- GNC, Domino’s Pizza, National CineMedia -- have integrated the campaign into their mobile apps! We also added Sofia Vergara and Michael Strahan to our beloved family of celebrities who support St. Jude -- which includes Jennifer Aniston, Robin Williams and many other big stars. It’s been a great year!
Q. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. What are your thoughts about this milestone?
Marlo: I am so proud of all that has been accomplished over the past half-century. St. Jude has developed protocols that have helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent to more than 80 percent. In fact, when the hospital opened in 1962, the survival rate for the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, was only 4 percent. Today, because of the work of St. Jude, our survival rate is 94 percent. Our groundbreaking research is what puts us on the cutting edge, and we continue this work day after day -- from researching brain tumors, bone marrow transplants and sickle cell disease, to pushing forward on our genome project, which is aimed at understanding the genetic origins of childhood cancers. Our one goal is to cure all children of these dreaded, deadly diseases so that they can live normal, healthy and happy lives. Our future is exciting at St. Jude, because we never stop looking for cures.
Q. What is the most important thing you want people to know about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital?
Marlo: It’s important for people to know that St. Jude is a national resource. Our labs may not be in your community, but our discoveries are. This is because St. Jude’s research and discoveries are always freely shared with doctors and scientists around the globe, so that children everywhere can benefit from the hospital’s pioneering work. It’s also important for people to know that we are keeping true to the promise that my father made when he opened the hospital: that no child is ever turned away for a family’s inability to pay. We pay for everything -- treatment, travel, food, lodging -- whatever it takes to make a child well. It costs $1.8 million a day to run the hospital; and because we are not-for-profit, we must get 75 percent of our funds from the public while most hospitals only have to get 7 percent of their budget from the public. So donations are the life-blood of St. Jude. And your support will help us continue to do our life-saving work.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Marlo: At this joyous time of year, there are some children who won’t be spending the holidays at home with family and friends. They will be spending the holidays fighting cancer and other deadly diseases at St. Jude. So we want to make this time as special as we can for these children, too. And give them the greatest gift of all -- hope. Any gift you can spare today will go a long way to help make this happen. Please shop at our partners’ stores, wherever you see the St. Jude logo. A complete list of partners is available at stjude.org. You can also make a donation online at stjude.org or call 1-800-4STJUDE (1-800-478-5833). And Happy Holidays, everyone!
Interview Conducted Via Email By: Giacinta Pace
Q: Why did you decide to get involved with St. Jude?
St. Jude's Research Hospital
Sabrina Soto visiting kids at St. Jude's.
Sabrina: My mom and I visited the patients and families of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital last year. We toured the hospital and hosted a fun arts and crafts activity at Target House, which is a home away from home for patients and their families while they are receiving treatment at St. Jude. It costs $1.8 million each day to operate the hospital, but thanks to the generosity of donors, no family ever pays St. Jude for anything. Treatment, travel, meals and lodging are all taken care of so the family can focus on the most important thing: the health and well-being of their child. St. Jude has developed protocols that have helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to 80 percent today. And St. Jude is a national resource with a global impact. All of their research findings are freely shared, which helps improve care for children around the world.
Q: Tell us about your experience with the New York Give thanks. Walk. and Open House events?
Sabrina: I loved the concept of the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk. the moment I heard it. The idea of thousands of people in 90 cities nationwide walking in support of St. Jude on the same morning was so powerful! I jumped at the chance to be a part of the New York City walk, and formed a team. I’m happy to report that Team Soto was the top fundraising team for the NYC event, bringing in more than $5,000 for the hospital’s lifesaving mission! Due to the impact of Superstorm Sandy, we took the New York City St. Jude Give thanks. Walk. indoors this year. It was so much fun to spend time together that morning to give thanks for our St. Jude friends here in the region and across the country.
Q: Has there been a particularly moving moment you have had with the charity?
Sabrina: I was very grateful to meet two girls at the New York City event, Ashley and Morgan. Getting to know the girls and their families was a privilege and a truly heartwarming experience. It’s always touching to meet with the kids and to hear their stories. There is no greater or rewarding feeling than spending time with them and seeing the smiles on their faces.
Q: Why should celebs support charities?
Sabrina: The theme for St. Jude Thanks and Giving is “give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not.” It is vital to give back to society. It’s important to spread the word and be a voice to hopefully make a big impact for the cause or charity. A simple act of raising awareness to make a difference can influence others to do the same. One by one we can truly make a great impression on the world. Getting involved and working together will make that happen.