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The Marlo Thomas Interview (Page 4 of 4)

An Interview with Marlo Thomas

Marlo Thomas: We have the largest and most expansive after-completion therapy (ACT) program in the country. Some of our patients are coming backfrom the 1960s. That is how we gather the information to improve the treatments based on that follow-up research. In the first years of St. Jude, so many children were dying. When St. Jude opened in 1962, the survival rate for the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, was only four percent. Today, the survival rate is 94 percent, thanks to the research and protocols developed at St. Jude. Today, we are following more than 4,000 adults who received treatment for cancer during childhood at St. Jude. Now that our survival rates are increasing and children are staying alive, we want the quality of their lives to be strong and better.

Gary Barg: That is also a really good reason to remind people about the Thanks and Giving campaign, because St. Jude is a research institution.

Marlo Thomas:  St. Jude is a national resource. My father made two promises when he opened the doors. One was that no child would ever be turned away if a family could not pay, and the other one was that we would freely share our scientific breakthroughs with the scientific and medical community worldwide. We all have one mission. We are all working the same side of the street—saving children’s lives. That is what it is all about. That is why we collaborate with so many research centers and so many hospitals.

Gary Barg: What would be the one most important piece of advice you would like to share with family caregivers?

Marlo Thomas: I would say to be hopeful. People cannot live without hope. Doctors can say you are going to die; doctors can say you are going to this or that, but doctors do not know everything. Nobody knows everything. There are no geniuses in this world. I think it is important to be hopeful and to notice when somebody is getting better in this little way or in that little way—to just keep feeding hope. That is what I think.


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