"No child should die in the dawn of life."
These are the words of legendary entertainer and humanitarian Danny Thomas, the founder of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. It is a sentiment that our community has embraced like no other community in America.
The million-dollar city. That's how Minden is known when it comes to our support of St. Jude. The annual St. Jude Auction, which is under way through Sunday at the Civic Center, has become a clarion call for this community.
On the first weekend of February, every year, it seems the entire city has a singular purpose – to go further, to give more. And every year, that's exactly what Minden has done.
A decade ago, the auction brought in a little more than $360,000. Last year, the take climbed to more than one million. Per capita, no other community donates as much to St. Jude as Minden.
And the cause is extraordinary. What could be more important than caring for our children, our small ones, our innocent?
Consider the mission of St. Jude – to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Furthermore, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.
Every penny Minden raises goes to saving the lives of our children.
Consider the progress made by St. Jude – discoveries at the hospital have completely changed how doctors treat children with cancer and other catastrophic illnesses. Since St. Jude was established, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer, has increased from 4 percent in 1962 to 94 percent today. During this time, the overall survival rate for childhood cancers has risen from 20 percent to 80 percent.
"St. Jude has treated children from across the United States and from more than 70 countries," their web site states. "Doctors across the world consult with St. Jude on their toughest cases. Also, St. Jude has an International Outreach Program to improve the survival rates of children with catastrophic illnesses worldwide through the transfer of knowledge, technology and organizational skills."
Every penny Minden raises goes toward saving the lives of the world's children.
Minden brought in more than a million dollars during the 2012 auction, paving the way for this year's theme "A Million Reasons to Give a Child Hope."
Minden gives more than hope. Residents give their time, their love, their passion. And so we come to Auction time once again. And again, Minden sits as a fulcrum for the fate of thousands of young lives. We will rise to the call. Minden always does. So join us all and give. Make a difference.
Because no child should die in the dawn of life.
Josh Beavers is the publisher of the Minden Press-Herald. He is a two-time recipient of the Best Newspaper Column award given annually by the Louisiana Press Association.