Saturday, November 8, 2014

Working With Target House: An Honor & A Privilege

www.stjude.org/stjude/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=922bfa2454e70110VgnVCM1000001e0215acRCRD
I'm honored that 50 of my mobiles will be spinning at Target House in Memphis, TN.

More than 70 years ago, a young man found himself in a tough spot. With a new wife and an infant child, he was at a crossroads. And he needed help.

So, he did what many of us would never think to do: He hit up St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, with a request. And he brought with him a bold promise.

He exclaimed: “Help me find my way in life, and I will build you a shrine.”

As the story goes, the young man’s life took a turn … for the better.

In fact, he became an internationally-known star of radio, film and TV as well as a respected producer of a number of the most popular television series of the 50s and 60s.

You could say that life was good. Very good.

And, you could also say this man knew how to keep a promise.

In 1962, Danny Thomas opened St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

With the belief that “no child should die in the dawn of life,” his shrine was built. Ever since, St. Jude has been fulfilling its mission to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through leading-edge research and groundbreaking treatment.

If you’re familiar with the work that St. Jude does, you know there is no other place like it on earth. Over the past 52 years, St. Jude doctors and researchers have pioneered treatments that have helped push the overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20% to 80% today. That is amazing!

I am very proud to share that my younger brother and sister-in-law have both served as doctors and researchers at St. Jude. So, I am intimately aware of the Good that is made here.

In addition to their obvious contributions to medicine, St. Jude is exceptional in a number of other less-apparent ways; not the least of which is that it never denies treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.

That’s right: Families NEVER receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because St. Jude believes the only thing a family should worry about is helping their child. Period.

As part of this commitment, St. Jude works with the community to provide free housing options to its patients and families. Target House is just such a place.

Funded by Target and its vendor and celebrity partner contributions, Target House I and Target House II provide up to 98 families with a long-term home-away-from-home while undergoing treatments that will last more than 90 days.

More than just a place to stay, Target House is a place where “children and their families can rest and heal, to gather and find ongoing support.” More than 1300 families have benefited from this remarkable place.
                                          
Now, I’m pleased (and supremely honored) to be a very small part of the St. Jude and Target mission to bring light into the lives of families facing such incredible challenges.

In collaboration with Business Interiors by Staples and Hanging Mobile Gallery, I was asked to create a series of mobiles for the 2014-2015 Target House I renovation-redecoration project. Target House I offers 50 two-bedroom apartment suites and several common areas, including the Tiger Woods Library, the Amy Grant Music Room, the Sergei Grinkov Garden, and a PGA Tour Wives Association-sponsored playground.

An updated version of my mobile, camo-a-go-go, will be spinning in each of the 50 apartments of Target House I (more pictures to come). As a small way to give back, I will be donating 25% of all sales of this mobile to St. Jude for life.

I’m happy and humbled to imagine my mobiles bringing a little wonder and whimsy into the lives of so many who need it most. Find out how you can help St. Jude's, too.

Thank you to Peggy Caldwell at Business Interiors by Staples, Kathryn Richards at Hanging Mobile Gallery, and all the men and women – volunteers, doctors, researchers, and staff – who give their best to make St. Jude what is has become today. It’s truly awe inspiring. 

Getting ready to ship
The unpainted prototype for the new design
The first set of 25 mobiles during the drying process

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