As St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital celebrates 60 years of service, Mariangeles Grear shares her personal experience and cancer journey. Today, she serves as a Development Specialist at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and continues her relentless pursuit for a world without cancer.
St. Jude Children’s Hospital is the only National Cancer Institute with a designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – devoted to treating children nationally and across the globe. It was there, Maria received treatment as a young girl; traveling from her home in Venezuela to Memphis after an acute myeloid leukemia diagnosis. Local doctors told Maria’s mom she would die within five days. Determined, her mother was not going to let her 13-year-old daughter die. As Maria reflects as a grown woman, “I consider St. Jude as a piece of heaven on earth. It gave me the opportunity to look at cancer in the face and beat it.”
In 1962, when St. Jude Children’s Hospital welcomed its first patients, it was the only fully integrated children’s hospital in the south. Their vision is unwavering: finding cures and saving lives. “Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live.” Events like the Justin Moore St. Jude Golf Classic generate critical support for this continued mission fulfillment work. Presented by Winrock Automotive, guests will enjoy a dinner at the Jack Stephens Center as well as a private, acoustic performance by Justin Moore prior to the golf tournament at Chenal Country Club. “Every event I get to work on is my little contribution to building hope for the kids in treatment and the ones that have not heard the words ‘you have cancer’ yet,” Maria emphasizes.
Today, Maria is a healthy + happy woman – but she believes her story isn’t over as she continues her work for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “It is very fulfilling to be able to raise funds to help other kids have a second chance like I did.” She realizes the more scientists discover through comprehensive research and treatments, the better the survival rate becomes. “Cancer is scary and it can make you feel like you want to give up, but I encourage everybody who is going through this journey to look up and have faith.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Our mission is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.®