First things first, we must define what is meant by a "St. Jude Moment".

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You'll know it when you feel it, but just so you can identify it when it comes, a St. Jude moment is the realization of what St. Jude actually stands for. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital isn't just a place where sick children call home. It's so much more than that. It's a beacon of light and hope for the patients and their families. It represents a chance at life. Not just a life confined to a hospital bed, oh no, but one of love, joy, and most of all - hope. You feel it as soon as you walk through the doors. You think to yourself, "Hmmm... this is definitely not a place of sadness like I thought it would be."

So, what qualifies as a "St. Jude Moment"? The best  way to describe it is by sharing my own personal story.

As I prepared myself for the tour of St. Jude, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I would be walking through the doors of somewhere that held the last breaths of so many children. I didn't know what feeling was appropriate. I was anxious, nervous, curious, and overwhelmed. Little did I know, my feelings would be completely changed upon my departure.

Jahna Michal, TSM
Jahna Michal, TSM

I entered the hospital and immediately was overcome by a sense of peace. It's pretty surreal. Actually, the feeling itself is a bit unsettling at first because you think to yourself "shouldn't I be feeling the exact opposite?" But, it's impossible to feel anything else. Everyone is so optimistic. In a place that you imagine would be riddled with death is actually bursting with life and light.

That reality became solidified as I was walking past the butterfly garden wing of the hospital. A man was holding his daughter in his arms after she had gone through some screenings. Her head was on his shoulder like she was trying to go to sleep. As soon as I met them in the hallway, her head shot up. She pointed at me. She smiled the biggest smile I'd ever seen, pointed at my hair, then tapped her daddy's shoulder. "Her hair's purple, huh?" he said, "that's your favorite color!"

When I tell you I was floored, it doesn't even begin to accurately paint my feelings in that moment. She looked like she was down for the count, then sprung to life from just a glance to her left.

That's when it clicked for me. I realized in that moment what St. Jude really is. My St. Jude moment was seeing how that little girl was filled with awe and wonder even after she had just gone through one of the most difficult mornings of her life. Never in a million years did I ever think that I, Jahna Michal, would or could be responsible for a moment of happiness for a child literally in the fight for their lives. Something that I take advantage of every single day brought a smile to this little one's face.

You can have your St. Jude moment today. Something as small as $19 a month can save a child's life. If you do the math, that's less than 67 cents a day. Sixty-seven cents is all it takes to prolong the life of a child.

Call 1-800-372-4999 to become a Partner In Hope.



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