SEATTLE — Jennifer Aniston has been a strong advocate for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for about a decade. Aniston’s support for the organization began back in 2008, when she took part in St. Jude’s Thanks and Giving Campaign. Ever since then, the “Friends” star has been a staple of campaigns for St. Jude, including one in which she and several other celebrities remade the song “Hey Jude.”
The hospital is located in Memphis, Tennessee and is regarded as being one of the best pediatric cancer research centers. Founded in 1962 by Danny Thomas, its mission is to “find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.”
St. Jude is currently doing research on gene therapy, pediatric AIDS, psychological effects of catastrophic illnesses, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation among other cases. The hospital focuses its research on understanding the genetic, molecular and chemical bases of diseases in children, identifying the cures for these diseases and promoting their prevention.
St. Jude costs approximately $2 million daily for operation and most of these funds are covered through public donations. Due to its reliance on public contributions, fundraising and campaigning are key for the hospital; and, so, celebrities like Aniston can use their public platform to help raise money.
Aniston and Celebrities’ Roles
The philanthropist has been a part of the Thanks and Giving Campaign every year since 2008. These ads feature prominent celebrities which air on prime-time TV. Aniston — along with Jon Hamm, Keith Urban, Michael Strahan, Lady Antebellum, Ellen DeGeneres and Shaun White — took part in singing her own rendition of the Beatles’ song “Hey Jude” back in 2012.
In February of last year, the actress was honored for her fundraising work for St. Jude at an event that featured high profile guests, including Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts and Whitney Cummings. At one point during the night, a former St. Jude’s patient told her story of battling brain cancer as a young child; Aniston wiped away tears and, due to her close relationship with the girl, asked her to do the splits, which showed the close bond and connection that the two shared.
“One of Jennifer’s favorite visits to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was with two sisters, one of which couldn’t pronounce her R’s,” stated actress Marlo Thomas in a piece she did for the Huffington Post. “The little girl wrote to St. Jude after she and Jen spent time together, saying how much she enjoyed meeting her.” Aniston and Thomas have worked together in both their professions and for St. Jude, with Thomas playing the mother of Aniston’s character, Rachel Green, in the popular sitcom “Friends.”
In addition to her philanthropy for St. Jude, Aniston has also advocated for many other causes. Just last week, Aniston donated $1 million to American Red Cross and the Ricky Martin Foundation for hurricane relief efforts. If more celebrities get involved like Jennifer Aniston, the world would most definitely be a better place.
– Blake Chambers