NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. and MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, today announced a historic $50 million donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®. This donation will enable St. Jude to accelerate plans to enhance and expand patient and family-centered care at the heart of its mission.
The AbbVie funding will support the construction of a new Family Commons on the Memphis campus, the first facility of its kind at St. Jude, designed to be an entirely treatment-free floor that will offer spaces for families to relax, recover and connect in a centralized location. Additionally, with the AbbVie gift, St. Jude can further transform its physical spaces with families in mind, adding a walking path, gardens and playground accessible for children going through treatment and their siblings.
"At St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, we work to ensure patients and their families have the very best experience possible," said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO. "As we asked families how we could further enhance the environment, many of them told us they would appreciate a space away from the medical setting—a place that offers them family time, creative outlets, resources and opportunities to socialize with other families. The Family Commons area will do just that."
The Family Commons floor, currently under construction and planned to open in 2020, is the result of months of research on the best way to deliver care, including interviews with St. Jude patients and families that will inform the creation of this industry-leading physical environment that supports healing and recovery.
Initial design plans for of the Family Commons floor include:
- A new preschool program with expanded resources for patients and family members, allowing them to accelerate their learning at an early age and keep pace with their peers back home;
- An open play area including an outdoor patio, living room area and 19 custom-built resting nooks that offer privacy and lounge space;
- A private area offering coffee, snacks and a general store for patient families to reconnect and recharge;
- Centralized patient and concierge services to meet the various unique needs of families including housing, transportation, food and care coordination, allowing parents to focus on their child's care; and
- A Parent Share Area for families to get non-clinical answers from other St. Jude parents.
St. Jude parent Cindy Howard serves on the hospital's Family Advisory Council, a group that informed the Family Commons concept. Her son Chandler was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, the most common type of pediatric malignant primary brain tumor. Chandler has completed treatment and returns to St. Jude for periodic checkups.
"It's so important to have thoughtfully designed space for patients and parents alike to deal with all of the day-to-day challenges that living with cancer brings," Howard said. "Treating and defeating a child's cancer diagnosis requires an investment of time unlike any other. I'm so thankful to St. Jude and AbbVie for their commitment in creating an even better homelike environment at St. Jude where kids can be kids and families can be families."
Knowing that St. Jude patient families spend extensive time at the hospital for medical appointments, procedures and treatments, AbbVie's donation will help transform the St. Jude campus with more outdoor green space where families can relax, socialize, recover and play. The donation will fund a playground designed so that children experiencing treatment or with mobility restrictions can enjoy the space. The donation will also fund gardens, landscaped walking paths and a 3.5 acre green space referred to as "The Quad," adding 282,000 square feet – nearly five football fields – of usable greenspace to the St. Jude campus.
"Families need to be able to take a break during one of the most difficult times of their lives, and that's why we're committing to create spaces—both indoor and outdoor—for families to be together," said Laura Schumacher, executive vice president, external affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary at AbbVie. "As a company committed to helping families thrive, we stand behind St Jude, a global leader in the fight against childhood cancer."
The AbbVie gift will cover construction of the Family Commons and outdoor space, as well as five years of operational costs for both. This donation from AbbVie is part of its commitment to make an additional $350 million in charitable contributions in 2018 to U.S. nonprofit organizations that align with the company's philanthropic focus areas. As part of these donations, AbbVie is contributing $155 million total to three leading nonprofit organizations working to address the challenges faced by families of children diagnosed with a life-altering illness.
"Our sincerest thanks to everyone on the AbbVie team for sharing their passion and commitment through this significant donation, the largest in our history," said Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "AbbVie is a great example of what it means to be a true 'socially responsible organization' choosing to use its resources, time, and talent to better communities and improve health care outcomes across the globe. We thank AbbVie for its generous donation to our mission and applaud its leadership to impact a range of critically important issues clearly demonstrating how a company can do well by doing 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 life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, 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 or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter and Instagram and subscribing to its YouTube channel.
AbbVie is a global, research and development-based biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world's most complex and critical conditions. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.