The St Jude Kid That Changed My Life
People come and go but there are some who leave a lasting impression and change the course of your life. That person for me was Frankie Lunn, a patient at St Jude Children's Research Hospital.
I met Frankie in 2003 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was battling leukemia with 5 rounds of chemo. But he was at the best place on earth to give him a fighting chance. And he knew it. You could see it in his eyes and in the smile that was always on his face. "That's all St Jude. When you're a patient, they don't let you get down. It's always very optimistic," remembers Frankie.
I remember thinking how can a kid who is battling a deadly disease be so positive all the time? "The doctors and nurses are there to fight the battle with you. Whether it's giving you the treatment you need to live or just playing games. You don't have time to focus on what you're battling, you're just doing it with a smile."
A trip back to St Jude this year had me thinking about that little boy who was always with me, reminding me what was truly important in life. How was Frankie now? I found him on Facebook. He was all grown up but that smile was still there.
Frankie won his battle but he still goes back to St Jude every 4 years for testing. "They have different tests to see how the treatment you received as a child affects you as an adult. Anything from medicine that can help your heart later in life, to how does chemo affect your body all these years later. They're always trying to help patients live their lives even past their treatment."
Frankie now calls Arizona home but St Jude will always hold a special place in his heart. "It changes your life. Whether you're a patient or you visit there."
St Jude saved Frankie's life and Frankie's positive attitude changed mine. If a little boy can smile through the worst moment in his life, what do I have to complain about? I should be thankful to have a healthy family and feel privileged to give to such a wonderful place. Because it's the donations that make it possible to find new treatment at St Jude and save more lives like Frankie's. "That's all because of St Jude and the fundraising efforts you all do to fulfill Danny Thomas' goal of never having a child turned away because they can't pay."
Frankie has been in remission for 17 years but he never forgets who helped saved him all those years ago. "I'm working on getting a tattoo design with the St Jude logo and my patient number on my arm."
A wedding is also in the works. Frankie is getting married in May.
Join the movement and become a Partner in Hope. Just $20 can help save more lives and one day make sure no child dies in the dawn of light. Call 800-995-5257 or donate online at St Jude.