By Monique Linder, Founder of OMG Media Solutions

My dear beloved community,

Yesterday, I was honored to be on Freddie Bell’s show on KMOJ with St. Jude Amanda Cahow, Amanda Cahow of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to discuss my role as an advisory council member.

The main two reasons I find this role important is the history of St. Jude and the vision of its founder Danny Thomas, that was built on health equity, in addition to its role in health innovation based on critical cancer research.  Danny Thomas deserves tremendous credit for his courage and determination to reject the Jim Crow laws of the South during the 1960’s.  There are many inspiring stories about this history, including the story about the young black boy critically injured in an accident and refused treatment at area hospitals because of the color of his skin.  He ultimately died of his injuries which was the catalyst for his vision to create St. Jude. This story became headline news and Danny Thomas carried this article in his pocket, as he worked tirelessly to make his dream a reality of building a hospital for children, where no one would be discriminated against or turned away.  

“Along the way, Dad read in the newspaper about a young African-American boy in Mississippi who was riding his bicycle when he was struck by a car – and because no nearby emergency room would take a black child, he died. My father carried the clipping of that story in his wallet for many years.” ~ Margo Thomas, Huffpost 12/6/2017

Disrupting Poverty, a poverty research study I first published in 2014, followed by part 2 in 2016, addresses the need for community leaders to work in unity on partnerships that invest in extreme poverty concentrated areas to develop innovation and strategies that lead to healthy, safe and prosperous communities for all.  Healthcare must be at the forefront of research that drives innovation to disrupt poverty.  St. Jude, as a research institution, is a critical leader in healthcare innovation and should be proud of its track record in marginalized communities, treating an average of 35-40% African American children, whose parents did not have the burden of having to pay for cancer treatment alongside the worry of saving their child’s life. 

The impact of St. Jude on our community is immeasurable and I share some of my favorites stories with you honoring the legacy of its founder, Danny Thomas and the love he shared for helping children, no matter their race, religion, income or background.

Paul Williams- Did you know the architect who designed the original St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which opened in 1962, was prominent African American architect Paul Williams? Williams was known for designing high-end homes for Hollywood elites like Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. However, when asked by his friend and St. Jude Founder Danny Thomas, Mr. Williams donated his design for the star-shaped hospital located in Memphis, TN. “This building is dedicated to the Glory of God in memory of architect Paul Williams,” reads a small plaque near the Diagnostic Imaging Department, the only remaining portion of the original St. Jude building designed by renowned architect, and personal friend of Danny Thomas, Paul Williams. Read how Williams was able to transcend racial barriers and build a successful career:

Dr. Rudolph Jackson- At a time when most hospitals were still segregated in the South, Dr. Rudolph Jackson was a pioneer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Not only has he left a lasting mark on the treatment of sickle cell disease, he also founded an assistance program for local kids that served as the prototype for WIC, the federal initiative for women, infants and children. Read more about his groundbreaking work on #StJudeInspire:

Nick London –Meet Nick, a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. After a life-changing diagnosis took him off the basketball court, Nick discovered music, which helped him learn how to tell his story and cope with treatment. Read more about Nick on #StJudeInspire:

Kris Keys – Kris is a fashion designer who draws inspiration from an unusual source – her rare blood disorder. Visit #StJudeInspire to see some of her amazing designs and read the story of her journey as a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (tag).

From left to right: Amanda Cahow, Executive Director of St. Jude ALSAC Midwest Region, Monique Linder, Founder of OMG Media Solutions and Freddie Bell, Host of Freddie Bell and Chantell Sings Morning Show / General Manager of KMOJ, The People’s Station