Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Why I Support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Thankful for this girl – Kimberly Metz
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.
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.
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.
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.
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