Childhood Cancer Survivor Fundraises for the Kids of St. Jude

Joel-in-singlet-crop

Danny Thomas, late founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, dreamed that “no child should die in the dawn of life.” Since 2010, a team of St. Jude survivors has raised funds and participated in fitness events as St. Jude Heroes. They call themselves “Danny’s Dream Team.”

“The Dream Team is a simple way to take care of that gift St. Jude gave us and to give back to the hospital,” said Joel, now 36, a bone cancer survivor who competes in running, swimming and biking events across the United States.

When Joel was 7 years old, a tumor was discovered in his right arm. At St. Jude, he underwent chemotherapy and the amputation of his right arm. Joel hasn’t let this loss keep him from living his life. “People choose how things affect them,” he said. “I am not going to let cancer define who I am.”

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent, and they won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

Along with the other members of Danny’s Dream Team, Joel is living proof of increased survival rates.

“St. Jude is everything to me,” said Joel. “It gave me life, which has led to amazing friendships and experiences over the last 29 years since I began treatment.”

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