Part 1 Of My Trip To Memphis,Tennessee For St Jude Blogger Tour

26 Oct

Back in September myself along with other bloggers were invited to Memphis, Tennessee to tour St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and I was grateful to get to experience this in person.

I haven’t been on a plane since probably 2002 or 2003. Something like that. I wasn’t going to let that stop me from meeting the staff, kids and families of St. Jude. I wasn’t going for a vacation. I was going for a behind the scenes look, answers to questions I’ve always wanted to know. I’m sure everyone like me wants to know how St. Jude could never ask for a penny from the families for anything. They never receive a bill which is beyond amazing. 

   
    
 September 15-17 was going to be intense and worth it. We took a tour of the facilities and met with nutritionists, scientists, chefs,child life specialist, teachers, kids, families, staff members, tour guides that grew up into healthy adults after being cured and are now working for St. Jude.

Walking into St. Jude felt like you were on a private island. It was not like any hospital you see in the city. No kids are waiting to be seen in the lobby, no kids crying, wall murals are amazing and the artist made the kids on the wall favor the kids at St. Jude. Very bright, colorful and happy, and everyone is so friendly. Kids are transported throughout the halls in red wagons which were so cute. 

Even though this was a hospital that treats kids with cancer it was like a happy place. They really take care of the children even down to the meals they eat. There’s even a campus organic garden on the property for fresh vegetables. 

The St. Jude Farmer’s Market offers employees, patients and their families the chance to purchase fresh produce and farm-raised meat from local farmers. The market is held on-site every other Friday from May through the end of October. 

The first day we arrived we had lunch in the St. Jude cafeteria. Named Kay Kafe by Sterling Jewelers, who donated $16 million for its renovation, the cafeteria seats 500 and serves up to 1,000 patients, families, faculty and staff during a busy lunch hour. Display cooking includes a grill, deli, pizza oven, and a wok area, among other options. Kay Kafe offers a variety of choices in a friendly, relaxed setting. There are so many food choices, and everything tasted great.

  
 
  
  
   
The Kay Kafe has a child-friendly design that include lower counters so that patients can interact face-to-face with staff. I also noticed lower sinks in bathroom and lower counters at receptionists desks when patients check in. 

Next was a tour of the hospital with our tour guide Tayde who was once a patient and now working for St. Jude. She was great and told us her story and how St. Jude saved her life. We saw the lab, classrooms (yes patients attend school). I loved the cute classrooms. We were told what a typical school day is like. There is also graduations and proms for some of the grades. 

   
    

  
    
    

  
  
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   
I don’t remember crying too much the first day but the next two days I turned into a fountain. 

We went to dinner later that night which again was amazing. I turned in early because I knew the next day was going to be a full day. 

   
    
    
    
 This is Part 1 of my post. I will continue to write more on my trip so stay tuned. 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post but was invited to Memphis Tennessee on a blogger tour to visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 

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