Hornets Players and Coaches visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

January 28, 2013

Upon entering the Children’s Research Hospital and gathering next to the statue of Saint Jude, you’d be hard-pressed to remember that Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost causes.

As Hornets players and coaches took time away from basketball in Memphis on Saturday night, Jan. 26, everything about their visit with young cancer patients exuded hope and inspiration rather than the namesake of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The team toured the facility with a guide who asked them to remember, if nothing else, three things about the facility.

First, in 1962 when the doors of St. Jude opened, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer, was 4 percent. Today, the survival rate for this disease is 94 percent, thanks to research and treatment protocols developed at St. Jude.

Second, when a child is treated at the hospital no family ever pays St. Jude for anything.

Finally, St. Jude publishes and shares more of its information and practices than any other institution in the world. Including publishing 700 articles in academic journals in 2011.

It’s fair to say though that Hornets players and coaches will remember a lot more than that. Head coach Monty Williams mingled with patients as well as their families, giving hugs, sharing stories, signing autographs and taking pictures.

As players met patients and their families, many of the guys got their boards ready to play BINGO. Captain Jason Smith emceed the game of BINGO while coach Randy Ayers and others distributed some snacks and prizes.

In the busy grind of an 82-game regular season schedule, it’s easy to get caught up in the routine of practice, shootaround, game, repeat. But for one Saturday night the team took some time away from basketball to meet some new friends, put things in perspective and learn about the incredible things happening at St. Jude Children’s Hopsital.

***Hoops for St. Jude was founded in 2009. Since that time NBA Cares, player ambassadors, coaches, teams, trainers, physicians and fans have raised more than $500,000 for the kids of St. Jude through the Hoops for St. Jude campaign.