(Maria Tabraue Zoological Wildlife Co-President and Director with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital staff)
By Maria Tabraue, ZWF Miami Co-President & Director
On August 5th, I had the opportunity to embark on a very special trip to Memphis, TN. to visit an organization near and dear to my heart –The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I’ve been a longtime donor and patron of St. Jude, because of everything that they stand for and all that they do for the children and families that receive treatment there free of charge. It has always been my passion to become more involved with the St. Jude organization and this was my opportunity to experience a great cause first-hand.
Upon arrival, I was welcomed by Chad Buschell, Regional Director and Barbara Mari, Regional Bilingual Event Specialist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I began my tour by learning how Danny Thomas vowed to honor St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, as he and his family struggled. “Show me my way in life,” he vowed to the saint one night in a Detroit church, “and I will build you a shrine.” From this prayer, Danny fulfilled his vow to St. Jude Thaddeus and built the hospital that would change the lives of thousands of children and families.
Throughout the hospital, colorful murals and artwork made by the children treated adorn the halls. The spirit of the children lives through each corner of the facility in which doctors, nurses, caretakers, families and visitors walk through each day. To brighten the day of the children receiving treatment, we donated over 200 ZWF-themed coloring books and crayons featuring some of the animals found at our property.
Seeing the brave children and families that have roamed through the halls of St. Jude, not only gives me hope, but it instilled in me a sense of compassion and perseverance, unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was a one-of-a-kind experience and one that I will never forget.
In maintaining the vision that Danny Thomas began, it is important that we continue to contribute and donate to this amazing cause benefiting the children and families of St. Jude, so that they may continue to receive the state-of-the art treatment that the hospital provides, at no cost. For this reason, the Zoological Wildlife Foundation will be honoring Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by donating a portion of the proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital from every General Wildlife Encounter we sell.