By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Avenue opened an exhibit honoring St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its founder, Danny Thomas.
The exhibit focuses on Thomas’ early life, career and mission for the hospital, and the hospital’s work to cure childhood cancer.
Thomas, an actor and producer, was born Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz to Lebanese parents in 1912 in Deerfield, and was later raised in Toledo.
Thomas was a struggling young entertainer when he went to pray for help at a Detroit church to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes.
“‘Show me my way in life,’ Thomas said. ‘I will build you a shrine,’” the AANM said on its website. From then on, his career took a turn for the better and, in the years that followed, flourished through films and television.
Drawing upon his faith and heritage, Thomas rallied support from family, friends and fans to create a shrine to another seemingly hopeless cause – defeating cancer in children.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened in Memphis in 1962, helping to increase the childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent.
Along with an increased survival rate, families don’t receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food during their time at the hospital.
The exhibit was created by American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The exhibit, on the main floor gallery, runs through May 8, and is free with museum admission.
Tickets are $8 for adults, and $4 for students, educators and senior citizens. Children 5 and under, and AANM members are free.
For more information go to www.arabamericanmuseum.org.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)