‘Historic’ $50M gift will fund new family center on St. Jude’s Memphis campus

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — St. Jude Children's Research Hospital announced a $50 million donation on Tuesday that will fund a new facility for families to relax and recover while on the hospital's campus in Memphis.

The donation for the Family Commons floor at St. Jude comes from biopharmaceutical company AbbVie.

ALSAC CEO Richard Shadyac called AbbVie's donation "historic," and said it was more than twice the size of the previous largest-ever donation to the hospital.

The Family Commons floor will not have treatment facilities, like much of the rest of the campus. Initial design plans for of include:

  • A new preschool program with expanded resources for patients and family members, allowing them to accelerate their learning at an early age and keep pace with their peers back home;
  • An open play area including an outdoor patio, living room area and 19 custom-built resting nooks that offer privacy and lounge space;
  • A private area offering coffee, snacks and a general store for patient families to reconnect and recharge;
  • Centralized patient and concierge services to meet the various unique needs of families including housing, transportation, food and care coordination, allowing parents to focus on their child’s care; and
  • A Parent Share Area for families to get non-clinical answers from other St. Jude parents.

The Family Commons space is planned to open in 2020. Beyond the new space St. Jude says the gift will allow it to transform the rest of its campus with a walking patch, gardens and playground accessible to children undergoing treatment.

“Treating and defeating a child’s cancer diagnosis requires an investment of time unlike any other," said St. Jude parent Cindy Howard, who serves on the hospital’s Family Advisory Council. "I’m so thankful to St. Jude and AbbVie for their commitment in creating an even better homelike environment at St. Jude where kids can be kids and families can be families.”

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