Family grateful to St. Jude for saving daughter’s life

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Since 2013, FOX23 morning anchor Michelle Linn has traveled to the hospital to meet families whose children are in treatment, but because of the pandemic, this year’s visit was virtual.

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Michelle connected with a family who said their daughter wouldn’t be here today, if it wasn’t for St. Jude.

Doctors diagnosed Mabry Landstreet with cancer in 2014.

“We heard the words, and to me, it was a death sentence,” said Jenny Landstreet, Mabry’s mother.

She was 2 years old and spent two and a half years in treatment at St. Jude for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).

When Danny Thomas founded St. Jude in 1962, ALL had a 4 percent survival rate. Now St. Jude doctors say those patients have a 94 percent survival rate.

“I remember the words coming out of the doctor’s mouth that Saturday morning when he told us those words, and that was back in 2014, so it was something I held onto and gave me a lot of hope,” said Jenny.

But she said there were some dark times.

“There would just be nights that you’d cry yourself to sleep thinking, if she’s lying in the bed next to me and thinking if she’s going to wake up in the morning,” said Jenny. “I try not to think about those moments.”

“There’s lots of fear that comes through your mind.”

St. Jude’s staff does all they can to ease those fears, and try to give kids a normal and fun childhood experience.

“Hope filled our hearts immediately as soon as I walked through the door,” said Jenny. “You just knew you were at the right place and they were going to take care of your child.”

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Mabry remembers the weekly doggie days.

“It’s where like all these dogs came and you get to pet them,” said Mabry.

“We had a dog back at home, so when we would be able to have interaction with a dog at the hospital, it was just a comfort for us to be able to do that each week,” said Jenny.

“It’s a fun place. There’s toys and nice people,” said Mabry.

Mabry was just a toddler at St. Jude, and her baby brother was just ten months old.

It was a lot to juggle, and Jenny quit her job to protect Mabry’s immune system.

Knowing Mabry was getting the best treatment and they would never get a bill from St. Jude, lifted a huge burden.

Mabry wrapped up treatment five years ago, and returns to the hospital for yearly checkups.

St. Jude is able to provide research and life saving treatment for kids, like Mabry, through donations and fundraisers, like the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.