*Disclosure: I partnered with Carnival Cruise Lines and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for this experience. All opinions are 100% my own.
Carnival Cruise Lines + St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: Partners in Play
I’ve long been a fan of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I remember watching the telethon when I was a child and I’ve always been fascinated with the story of how Danny Thomas turned his dream into a reality. A HUGE reality, actually. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a place unlike any other and I’m thrilled to share that I was able to visit the hospital earlier this week when I attended the Day of Play Carnival hosted at the hospital by Carnival Cruise Lines.
In case you aren’t familiar with the hospital and the story behind it, it all started with a dream and a promise that Danny Thomas had many years ago. It’s one of my favorite stories and you can read all about how Danny Thomas created St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and how it’s become the truly amazing facility that it is today.
The short version is that Danny Thomas had come upon hard times in his life and while praying to St. Jude Thaddeus he made this promise, “Show me my way in life and I will build you a shrine.” As his career took off, Danny never forgot that promise and worked relentlessly throughout his life as a champion for children facing cancer.
Fast forward to today, and St. Jude Children’s Hospital is probably more than he could ever dreamed that it would be! hat I witnessed was nothing short of pure hope and joy! I had the amazing opportunity to visit the hospital earlier this week and I have to tell you, my heart is still bursting with love and joy over this amazing place that brings so much hope to children from all over the world and their families.
The hospital itself is so colorful and vibrant, and I have to mention that the air inside the hospital is literally the freshest air I’ve ever taken in. It doesn’t smell like a hospital at all either. So much care and attention go into every little detail here so that children are comfortable and feel at ease during their time at the hospital.
Years ago, they began using red wagons to move the children and their belongings around the hospital. It’s a neat little touch that again, is so perfect for transporting children through these colorful hallways!
These flags shown above hang proudly in the hospital and represent the countries that doctors, researchers, and staff come from.
One area of the hospital is decorated with the ABCs of Cancer as seen through the eyes of St. Jude patients. These pieces are so moving and truly give insight into these little creative minds and how all of this must look and feel from their perspective.
I absolutely love that this hospital is built around allowing children to be children. It’s such a warm and delightful place, even though the reality of what they are going through is probably quite scary – something no child should have to endure.
This piece of artwork (above) was one of my very favorites. Phil. 4:13 is a personal favorite of mine and to see it written out in a child’s handwriting just tugged at my heart strings. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is full of hopeful and inspiring messages at every turn. What I had expected to be a sad and difficult experience was not the case at all. Families are so thankful to be here and the children are surrounded by so much love and hope, you can just feel it in the air!
Carnival Day of Play 2018
What does any child want more than anything in the world? TO BE A KID. What do kid want to do? PLAY. It’s really so very simple and something that so many of us take for granted.
The fact that my friends from Carnival Cruise Line invited me to attend the annual Carnival Day of Play for St. Jude patients and families was such an honor! The joy at this party was overwhelming. The folks from Carnival literally turn a portion of the hospital into a carnival just for St. Jude patients. Carnival Cruise directors from all of their ships came and spent the day playing with the children. It wasn’t about big bells and whistles and fancy food or prizes. It was literally playing. Dancing. Singing. Hula hoops and high fives. And so many smiles. Heart melting, genuine joy. Smiles, all around.
The below photos shows Carnival Cruise Line CEO Christine Duffy making friends and having a ball at the Day of Play event.
I had such a fun time just watching all of the excitement and to see the joy on the little faces was overwhelming. If you have ever cruised Carnival before, then you know how amazing these Cruise Directors are, and they were right in their element hosting this party for the kids!
As you know, I’m a huge fan of Carnival Cruise Lines and I love their strong partnership with St. Jude. If you’ve ever cruised Carnival, then you might be familiar with the Groove for St. Jude parties that they throw. My daughter and I LOVE them and it’s a great chance to get out on the dance floor while supporting such a fantastic cause!
Wondering how YOU can support St. Jude?
There are so many ways! First of all, I support great brand partners like Carnival Cruise Lines because I so admire their dedication and sincere love for causes like St. Jude. I also love the fact that they offer great ways for people like you and me to support these causes as well!
Keep your eyes on the skies!
Spot the Carnival AirShip for a chance to win a cruise and other fun prizes PLUS for every tweet that includes a photo of the Carnival Airship along with the hashtag
#ChooseFun our friends at Carnival will donate to St. Jude!
Use the Carnival AirShip tracker to see where the AirShip will be and when:
For more information on the Carnival AirShip you can visit the Carnival website here.
Shop the Gift Shop
Donate to St. Jude
And of course, one of the very best things you can do to support St. Jude and it’s mission to continue to help children and their families that are facing cancer is to donate. I have long been a sponsor of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with a monthly donation. It’s such a small sacrifice and goes to such a wonderful cause and I love being a tiny part of the HUGE work they are doing. If you are looking to support a cause, this is one that I can’t recommend enough – especially now that I have seen it first hand.
Continuing on with the dream that Danny Thomas had so many years ago, families can count on St. Jude regardless of race, creed or religion. You can read more about the St. Jude history and timeline here to see just how his dream has turned into a lifesaving place of hope for so many.