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Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Why I Support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

11/19/2012 at 02:00 PM ET

Elisabeth Röhm's Blog: Why I Support St. Jude
Thankful for this girl – Kimberly Metz

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her roles as Serena on Law & Order and Kate on Angel, has been blogging for PEOPLE.com for close to two years now.

The actress, 39, currently stars as Taylor on The Client List, while her film Officer Down is out later this year.

Her book, Object of My Conception: A Journey to Motherhood Through IVF, will be released by Da Capo in April.

She can be found on Facebook, Google + and @ElisabethRohm.

In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 4½-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — discusses her recent work with St. Jude and why the charity is important to her this holiday season.

It’s that time of year again where as a family we are full of Thanks and Giving. That’s the plan, right? Thanksgiving rolls in after we celebrate with our little Halloween monsters! I love this holiday season where we get to celebrate one joyous occasion after another! There is the motivation to come together and take pause … take stock and ring in the New Year with a fresh and new outlook of hope. he future year is full of potential! Once again, we are reminded of what we are grateful for.

PEOPLE.com readers, I know we are collectively grateful for our little ones who opened our hearts in a way that we had never felt before. LOVE walked into our lives when we met our babies face-to-face. And the journey of parenthood goes on into the new year with its highs and lows, successes and questions. We are blessed to have the gift of parenthood and making memories that will top our list of greatest moments in our lifetime.

Together we have each other to lean on and figure it all out with. I love this community of women who are committed to sharing the mothering experience! I’m so grateful to share these moments together over the last two years.

This year I’m also very grateful for St. Jude Children Research Hospital. I’ve always known of their profound contribution to families all over the world, but this year I’m joining THEIR family in order to celebrate them!

Just to give you some history on this American legend, St. Jude opened in 1962 and was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. Its mission is to find cures for children with cancer and other deadly diseases through research and treatment.

The hospital has played a pivotal role in pushing U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 to 80 percent overall, and is the first and only National Cancer institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted to children.

It is also a leader in the research and treatment of blood disorders and infectious diseases in children. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from all around the world.

And the greatest blessing of all: Families never pay St. Jude for anything.

Elisabeth Röhm's Blog: Why I Support St. Jude
At the Los Angeles Walk this past weekend – Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm

This holiday season, Easton and I are going to Memphis, Tenn. to meet the children and families there. We want to celebrate their fight for health and learn a little something about the joy of living! I’m really looking forward to meeting the very special patients there like Mae…

Mae was first found to suffer from Wilms tumor in fall 2010. Wilms tumor, which is a solid tumor of the kidney that arises from immature kidney cells, is the fourth most common type of cancer in kids. Mae received treatment at a local hospital, where she underwent surgery to remove the tumor and her left kidney, as well as chemotherapy and radiation.

When Mae’s family learned in March 2012 the cancer had returned, they turned to St. Jude for her continuing treatment. “The top Wilms researcher in the country is at St. Jude,” explains Mae’s mother, Tricia. “St. Jude has a wealth of knowledge about this type of cancer. That’s where we want to be.”

At St. Jude, Mae is on a non-protocol treatment plan, which includes chemotherapy and radiation. One of the drugs she receives as a part of her therapy was developed right at the hospital. St. Jude’s radiation expertise is one of the reasons why Mae’s parents chose to seek treatment there. “The care at St. Jude is so comprehensive,” Tricia says. “It’s so team oriented.”

Their story makes me think of all the other families there experiencing the same support and advanced treatment. It makes me think of my daughter and the big ‘what-ifs’ of life. What if Easton were sick? What if one of friend’s children had cancer? What if we needed the same support? Where would we turn? We’d have St. Jude.

I feel deep gratitude that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital exists and is stronger than ever. We can sleep knowing that we would have a place to go and that there is hope. St. Jude is a community … it is a family. Just like yours and mine. And it is most certainly a family to those that are counting on St. Jude to protect and heal their children. Together we can continue to strengthen their mission.

Mae’s parents have expressed gratitude that she’s formed friendships and most especially with another Wilms tumor patient, Bailey. I know all of us parents think about our kid’s friendships and want to nurture relationships. The girls are in kindergarten together and share the same doctors and nurses. “We didn’t have this community the first time around,” Tricia says. “Bailey can be there for Mae in a way that I can’t.”

I think we can all relate to the happy feeling when our children feel connected to their community and they have a pal that relates to them and loves them. All the more important when the life experience is what these girls have to go through on a daily basis. They have each other to talk to. At the hospital they can share the laughter, tears and hope that touches them every day. They are friends!

We can also be a friend to them, a family to their families.

Before she became sick, Mae took ballet and gymnastics like my daughter Easton does today. She’s looking forward to returning to those things when she’s finished treatment. Until then, Mae and Bailey enjoy spending time with each other as they fight their personal battle to get well. Just like other little girls, these two delight in playing and making paper dolls, visiting the botanical gardens and making beaded jewelry. They are just like your daughters and mine — they want to enjoy life.

Elisabeth Röhm's Blog: Why I Support St. Jude
Mae, Jennifer and Bailey – Courtesy St. Jude’s

Recently, Mae and Bailey filmed a television spot with Jennifer Aniston for St. Jude Thanks and Giving, a holiday campaign like no other that unites retail and corporate partners, celebrities, and media, and asks people everywhere to support St. Jude’s lifesaving mission.

This year, Easton and I are reminded of our blessings of good health and are celebrating life with Thanks and Giving, PEOPLE.com!

On Saturday, we participated in the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk. Los Angeles and raised over $90,000. I hope that your family can do the same and that you are able to celebrate with us.

Danny Thomas believed that no child should die in the dawn of life. I know we all agree with him.

Every day of life is a gift. Happy holidays.

Join the mission by visiting StJude.org or following them on Facebook and @StJude on Twitter.

Learn more and please donate online. Together we can save lives and create those memories that make life worth living!

Until next time…

– Elisabeth Röhm

More from Elisabeth’s PEOPLE.com blog series:

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Showing 11 comments

Nic on

As someone who works with pediatric patients who fight the battle of cancer everyday, I admire the work of St. Jude’s. However, there are so many wonderful children’s hospitals across the United States that do the same wonderful work with patients… many of whom can be your neighbor or your child’s classmates.

The difference is, your local hospitals don’t have access to celebrities who will promote donating to their hospital to help their amazingly brave patients fight the battle of cancer.

And yes, the care is free to families. However, what is not well-known is that St. Jude’s will NOT take a patient on if he/she has had treatment elsewhere. How can a hospital turn away a child who wants to try a treatment as a last attempt to save his/her life?

At this time of year, I encourage people to not only think of St. Jude’s, but to think of the children who live in their neighborhood who are fighting a war against cancer and consider donating/supporting your local children’s hospitals. They need your support too.

Tori on

Nic, according to this article, Mae had treatment somewhere else. I think that you should gather all of your facts together before posting.

Shelliec69 on

The article says that Mae is being treated by St. Jude. Where does it say she was turned away???

Colleen Marie on

I watched a beautiful linterview with Barbra Bush and Jenna Bush about St. Jude’s. What a wonderful institution. I do wonder about one thing. Why are they releasing balloons in the air when that kills birds. Birds eat parts of the balloons and die. I think if they knew this, they would stop, but I don’t know how to let them know about it.

Mechemom on

And this is another reason why I love reading Elisabeth Rohm’s blogs … she writes not just about the small issues of parenting, but the big ones that keep life in perspective. Before reading this blog, I read Anne Heche’s “advertisment/blog” and Elisabeth’s post is like a breath of fresh air after that.

Jodes on

St. Judes a wonderful health care facility for treatment in childhood cancers. No argument there; however, Ms. Rohm states, “is the first and only National Cancer institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted to children.” This is incorrect, there are a number of National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers devoted to children with cancer. One of them is The Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Which is the only comprehensive Cancer Centers in the State of Maryland. JHSKCCC also has a close relationship with St. Jude. I do agree with Nic that our local pediatric cancer centers need our help as well. Please continue to give what you can to help these children get through their battle with cancer. Thank you.

Marci on

Thank you for supporting St. Jude. My daughter has been a patient at St. Jude for 8 years and it is an amazing place. St. Jude has so many wonderful events for the children and their families that it makes the trips something positive. My daughter loves going. Everybody that works and volunteers at St. Jude is AMAZING – there are not enough words to express thanks for HOPE and cures.

Sarah on

Thank you for your support of St. Jude!!! In March, my daughter finished treatment at St. Jude for medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. She was 4 when she was diagnosed, and is now thriving in kindergarten, thanks to the miracles St. Jude works! There really are no words to describe how amazing this place is–children from AROUND THE WORLD are treated at St. Jude with no cost to the family. My husband and I are both teachers, and I had to take 18 months off work to care for our daughter, so not having piles of medical bills allowed us to focus on what was really important–helping our daughter win the fight for her life!

I would also like to address Nic’s comment below–it is simply not true that St. Jude will not accept patients who can seek treatment elsewhere. We had MANY options for treatment locations, including several much closer to our home in East TN, but St. Jude was the best of the best, and that’s where we chose to go. There are some cancers that they do not have protocols to treat, but, for the most part, almost all pediatric cancers are treated at St. Jude. Please do not spread false information in an attempt to dissuade others from saving the lives of precious children.

Thank you, St. Jude, for the gifts of HOPE and LIFE for our Kellan!

KEB on

@Nic- Thank you for this comment. Because their schtick is “patients are never turned away because of a family’s inability to pay”, people assume patients are never turned away. Not true. People forget that St. Jude is first and foremost a RESEARCH hospital. Parents have to agree to experimental treatments. Also, they have certain experimental protocols; if a patient is not eligible for the particular protocol, they most assuredly are turned away.

Amo on

Wow! That is truly inspiring!! And your sign that says ‘Thanks for hope for the future” is so touching. That is really incredible that they have boosted cancer survival rates. They are doing a marvellous job.

Dr William Mount on

We knew the cure for cancer in 1946 AND used it in Hiroshima with complete success.

APFN THE CURE FOR CANCER UPDATE 4

Read it, research it, use it, get well, get mad, tell everybody.

10 year cure rate 98%.

Dr William Mount
253-686-6290

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