MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer, honored Chili's® Grill & Bar's more than $50 million contribution by celebrating "Chili's More Hope Day" at the hospital Thursday, Nov. 14 – the sixth anniversary of the Chili's Care Center opening on the St. Jude campus.
The Chili's Care Center is home to the Radiological Sciences department, the Bone Marrow Transplant inpatient unit, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, and new research labs for Pathology, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Virology. The seven-story, 340,000 square-foot facility, combines 21st century imaging and treatment technology.
To commemorate the occasion, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton proclaimed the day as "Chili's More Hope Day" in the city to recognize the contributions of the brand's annual fundraising campaign for St. Jude, which takes place in September as part of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. During the month-long campaign, Chili's also dedicates one day as 'Donate Profits Day,' where 100 percent of net profits from the brand's more than 1,200 restaurants nationwide as well as in Puerto Rico go directly to St. Jude.
Chili's made the $50 million, 10-year commitment to St. Jude in 2006, so the contribution is not only the largest donation from a single-partner campaign in the hospital's history, but it was accomplished two years ahead of schedule.
Thursday's event, which was hosted in the Chili's Care Center lobby, was a celebration of hope – started with comments by ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital CEO Richard Shadyac Jr., followed by a reading of Mayor Wharton's proclamation and then comments by Chili's Memphis Area Director Jay Michalec. St. Jude patients and their families also participated in the celebration, decorating cookies and coloring the campaign's signature chili pepper shaped coloring sheets.
"Today is an incredibly special day for our patients, families, staff and the local community as we celebrate this unprecedented gift from Chili's Grill & Bar," said Shadyac. "The world-class care provided at the Chili's Care Center here on the St. Jude campus is a living embodiment of the impact Chili's is having on the lives of countless patients and families. We couldn't be more thankful for the zeal with which Chili's team members and their guests have embraced the mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital."
One of the young patients who benefited from treatments at Chili's Care Center early on is Ethan Scott-Smith. At seven years old, Ethan was experiencing headaches and vomiting. His local hospital diagnosed him with a brain tumor and referred him to St. Jude where he underwent six weeks of radiation, followed by four months of chemotherapy. Along the way, Ethan also received physical therapy to help him regain strength, agility and balance. Ethan's family was thrilled to be able to return home in the summer of 2008.
Today, Ethan is in eighth grade and loves science and art. He's also really interested in puppets, and has recently begun making his own. Ethan puts on puppet shows for the kids in the neighborhood. Ethan is also a competitive archer, and recently won an award for his archery skills. Ethan returns to St. Jude regularly for checkups, and his latest scans were good.
About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. St. Jude has the world's best survival rates for the most aggressive childhood cancers, and treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since we opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent in the next decade. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs we make, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org or following St. Jude on facebook.com/stjude and twitter.com/stjude.
Image with caption: "St. Jude Children's Research Hospital patients Jorge, left, and Bailey, share St. Jude thanks with Eric Bush, left, manager of the Wolfchase Chili's Grill and Bar in Memphis, and Jay Michalec, Chili's Memphis-area director. The celebration was part of "Chili's More Hope Day" at the hospital recognizing Chili's Grill and Bar's fulfillment of a $50-million fundraising pledge." Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131114/MM17560-a
Image with caption: "Richard Shadyac Jr., center, CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, shares a proclamation by Memphis Mayor AC Wharton declaring Thursday, Nov. 14, "Chili's More Hope Day" in the city with Eric Bush, left, and Jay Michalec. Bush is manager of the Wolfchase Chili's Grill and Bar in Memphis, and Michalec is Chili's Memphis-area director. The celebration recognized Chili's Grill and Bar's fulfillment of a $50-million fundraising pledge." Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131114/MM17560-b
Image with caption: "Eric, a patient at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, shows off the cookie he decorated during "Chili's More Hope Day," a celebration at the hospital recognizing Chili's Grill and Bar's fulfillment of a $50-million fundraising pledge." Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131114/MM17560-c
SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital