Central New Yorkers have been supporting St Jude Children's Research Hospital since the very beginning. In the early 1960s, Danny Thomas came to Utica to ask for help with his mission to build a shrine to St Jude.

Thomas met with Utica Mayor Frank Dulan, Oneida County Sheriff Tom Abounader, and Utica Police Officers Fred Marron and Donald Palmer to raise funds on behalf of the Hospital. And there are pictures to prove it thanks to Fred Marron Jr.

Sold Out Performance

"On that day he also went to my dad’s barbershop on Bleeker Street and my dad gave him a haircut," said Michelle Vennero.

Thomas also performed for a sold-out crowd at the Adirondack Bank Center. Utica officers Palmer and Marron are seen 'apprehending' him for a comical photo Officer Palmer's grandson Jason Williams shared.

How St Jude Began

The idea to create St Jude Children's Research Hospital after Danny Thomas found himself nearly with a baby on the way. Inspired by a sermon he heard at church, Thomas donated his last $7 with a prayer and a pledge.

"Show me my way in life, and I will build you a shrine."

The following day Thomas was offered a small role that paid 10 times the amount he had placed in that collection box. From that day on, Thomas did everything he could to make sure no child would have to die in the dawn of life.

Thomas envisioned a hospital that would treat children regardless of race, color, creed, or their family's ability to pay. A facility where research would shine light into the darkness. Thomas’ vision became a reality when St. Jude Children's Research Hospital opened on February 4, 1962. Since then, St. Jude has become one of the world's premier pediatric research institutions.

Credit- St Jude
Credit- St Jude

Mission Remains Same

Today the mission is the same. No family ever sees a bill for treatment, travel, housing, or food. All a parent should have to worry about is helping their child live. That mission has been incredibly successful. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since opening 50 years ago.

But we can't do it without you becoming a Partner in Hope during our Country Cares radiothon, presented by Drain Masters.

Call 800-995-5257 or donate online at St Jude.

Thank You Gifts

To thank you for supporting St Jude Children's Research Hospital and becoming a Partner in Hope you'll have the honor of joining the country community with a 'This Shirt Saves Live ' t-shirt AND a We Won't Stop hoodie. The first 100 Partners in Hope will get their choice of 2 vouchers for any Utica Comets hockey game this season or Hoffman Car Wash. One lucky person will win tickets to see Brooks & Dunn at SPAC.

Meet the Patients of St Jude Your Donation Helps Save

Meet the patients of St Jude Children's Research Hospital that your monthly Partner in Hope donations helps save.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

Country Stars Put on St. Jude's 'Love Music, Stop Cancer' Tees

Kane Brown, Gabby Barrett, Carrie Underwood and more stars show off their 'Love Music, Stop Cancer' shirts to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.