Today, June 5th, is National Cancer Survivors Day, and as such, I thought it would be a wonderful time to honor the work that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does. When I toured their facilities back in 2014, what struck me the most was the great attention to detail that is paid to every aspect of recovery. For patients at St. Jude going through cancer, it’s not just about treating the disease itself: It’s about attending to every aspect of life that gets impacted by a cancer diagnosis.
I’ve already talked at length about the holistic approach at St. Jude, starting with their in-house research to discover cures, child life specialists to help the whole family navigate the process, careful focus on nutrition to support recovery, and a classroom in the hospital so that children can continue their education while receiving treatment. And another area that I think deserves special attention is St. Jude’s Rehabilitation Services.
When I was at St. Jude, I was able to see the work that these physical therapists do, and it really stood out to me. For children who are on bed rest or using a wheelchair during treatment, loss of mobility is a huge problem, so Rehabilitation Services are crucial to address these issues. Another huge concern for these young patients is making sure that normal childhood development is not impacted, and some patients may also have to learn how to use prosthesis if they have lost a limb; and of course, physical therapy is also very important for pain management and maintaining quality of life. When possible, the therapists do the exercises as a form of play to make it easier for the young patients.
St. Jude’s Rehabilitation Services are just another way that they ensure that every aspect of care has been provided, free of charge, for their patients. Parents of cancer patients are not left on their own to try and pick up the pieces after treatment; St. Jude is there to help them navigate each hurdle that a cancer diagnosis creates, including the ones that might not be immediately obvious to a shell-shocked family. St. Jude’s hope, determination, and focus on recovery embodies the spirit of National Cancer Survivors Day perfectly to me.
In honor of National Cancer Survivors Day, consider visiting StJude.org to learn more about the amazing work they do. And if you feel moved to do so, today would also be a great day to make a contribution or check out their gift shop – they have great Father’s Day gifts!