Campaign memorializing sickle cell pioneer Dr. Rudolph Jackson raises more than $2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Campaign memorializing sickle cell pioneer Dr. Rudolph Jackson raises more than $2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Dr. Rudolph Jackson, MD, a pioneering researcher of sickle cell disease in the early years of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, was honored at St. Jude as supporters and Dr. Jackson’s family members attended a June 23
event, which celebrated the more than $2 million raised through the ongoing Dr. Rudolph Jackson Campaign to help advance the mission of St. Jude: Finding cures. Saving children®.

To permanently honor Dr. Jackson, two plaques were unveiled at the entrance of the Weiss Hematology Lab in the Danny Thomas Research Center, where Mitchell J. Weiss, MD, PhD and his team research blood disorders such as sickle cell disease.

Major commitments from ABCD & Company, a marketing and events agency in Rockville, Maryland and Speer Charitable Trust earned each organization naming rights on the plaques. ABCD & Company provided the lead gift, which helped launch overall fundraising efforts
for this extraordinary campaign. ABCD & Company pledged $500,000 toward the Dr. Jackson campaign and Speer Charitable Trust, which was formed from the estate of long-time St. Jude supporter Dr. R. Wayne Speer, also donated $500,000 as part of a broader 5-year commitment to St. Jude.

Guests also viewed renderings of a biographical mural displaying Dr.
Jackson’s journey as one of the first Black doctors and prominent early researchers to join St. Jude.

“It is a beautiful tribute to the lifesaving work of Dr. Jackson,” said
Reginald Porter, Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer and Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 
“It will create a meaningful legacy on campus in a place where Dr. Jackson can continue to inspire everyone who sees it from young patients and their families to the researchers of today.”

Jackson’s considerable impact reached beyond the treatment of sickle
cell disease to address anemia, parasitic infections and growth impairments that also threatened children in the 1960s, especially those in low-income households. He helped develop a program under which St. Jude enrolled thousands of local infants and mothers to receive nutritional assistance, medicine and diapers. The program served as a prototype for WIC, the federal initiative for women, infants and children.

Dr. Jackson’s daughters, Kimberley Marter and Kelley Alexander,
help continue his legacy by joining St. Jude supporters at fundraising
events to share stories about their father. Marter recently talked about her father’s outlook on the future of healthcare for African Americans. “It was important for my dad to understand what it was like for all African Americans,” said Marter. “He wanted to make sure that other physicians came up with the same type of education and opportunities in other hospitals so that we would have representation all across the world.”

“Even after retirement, he was still a mentor to many younger physicians,” said Alexander, who attended the unveiling with her family. “He was doing community service and he had this compassion for letting African Americans know they had someone as an advocate for their health. We’re very proud of him.”

The dedication ceremony aligned with a series of events marking the
60th anniversary of the opening of St. Jude in 1962. To learn more about the history of St. Jude, visit stjude.org.

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