Where the light cascades in streaming beauty, the children of forever lie in their beds with sweet faces smiling to the morning sun. As the birds sing with gentle tunes, they adorn their hair with petals of servitude and strength. All here are of harmonious voice and love rules this place in gratitude. All the songs sung here are healing, sending hope to the bravest of them all.
Because “No child should die in the dawn of life,” More than 50 years ago, Danny Thomas, then a struggling young entertainer of Lebanese descent knelt in a Detroit church before a statue of St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, asking him to show him his way in life. Throughout the next years, Thomas’ career prospered and he became a known entertainer. He never forgot though his pledge to build a shrine to St. Jude. Gradually, the idea of a children’s hospital, possibly in Memphis, took shape. In 1955, Thomas and a group of Memphis businessmen who had agreed to help support his dream seized on the idea of creating a unique research hospital devoted to curing catastrophic diseases in children. More than just a treatment facility, this would be a research center for the children of the world.
Danny’s Dream, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, opened its doors in 1962 and is now recognized as one of the world’s premier centers for study and treatment of catastrophic diseases in children.
The Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon, affiliated with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is dedicated to the comprehensive treatment of pediatric cancer. Children are treated free of charge, with no cost at all on their parents. Therefore, CCCL relies purely on donations, with a yearly 15 million USD budget. The survival rate for children at the center is a staggering 80%.
The CCCL is a result of an agreement among the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the CCCL Foundation, and the American University of Beirut Medical Center. In April 2002, St. Jude delegation and the CCCL founders, with representatives from the AUBMC, inaugurated the Children’s Cancer Center, after 4 years of visits to Lebanon, with an objective to establish an affiliate regional medical center in Beirut. The Center was then established as a result of the efforts of the founders Nasser Chammaa, Nabil Harfouche, the late Pierre Bou Khater, the late Naoum Khattar, and Joseph Asseily.
This place is heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time. Parents pray for their children in pain, to brighten up their days and help them see beauty again. They pray for their children to lead brighter ways. Inside every room a sick child lies with a hopeful whisper, forever believing in life, love, and the simple pleasures of playing outside with friends. Yet every summer must succumb to winter, and some days are long and hard, yet as summer days succumb to winter, so do winter days come to an end with blooming spring flowers. The children born of love and raised with love look through the glass windows waiting for that first spring flower to bloom. Those beautiful children teach us that the life we live is a gift. They teach us that bravery and courage is found in the smallest of hearts and the sickest of little bodies. Each and every child there, is a different kind of flower awaiting spring. All together they make this world a beautiful garden.
To Children, to Hope, to blessings, to love, to nurturing, to healing, to the amazing job of the Children Cancer Center of Lebanon…
I’ve explained to my children that they will get one less gift this Christmas so we can help the brave kids at the center overcome their disease. If you’d like to do the same, here is the link: