Treating each child at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital costs an average of $425,000, a figure that includes housing, travel, and food, in addition to medical treatments, which can last three or more years. The hospital treats around 8,500 children for cancer and other diseases annually, and running the facility costs around $1 billion per year. Generous donors, including those in Jackson, help fund St. Jude and enable it to provide care to patients and families.
Every summer, Jackson donors host a fundraiser called Moonlightnon the Mountains to raise money for the hospital. This year’s event is scheduled for June 22, 2019, and features dinner, cocktails, an auction, dancing, and entertainment, as well as a presentation explaining how St. Jude helps families.
A number of local business leaders sponsor the event, including Zachariah Turpin from Jackson Hole Jewelry Company, who serves on the event’s board. Turpin appreciates how St. Jude provides for the whole family and bridges the gaps to help meet their needs. “It isn’t just about the treatment,” Turpin says. “It’s about treating the child and helping to facilitate the family through a really difficult time.”
The money raised through events like Moonlight on the Mountains not only goes to providing treatment for individual patients, but also to research efforts which have considerably improved survival rates for childhood cancers. Researchers freely share their findings with other scientists and institutions and, in 2016 alone, St. Jude-affiliated researchers published 860 academic journal articles.
“Without St. Jude Moonlight on the Mountains, St. Jude would not be able to live out its daily mission of finding cures and saving children,” St. Jude regional development specialist Allison Boyce says. “Events like Moonlight on the Mountains continue to ensure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food—because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.”