Danny Thomas

by Sophia from San Diego

132687 Television [Public domain]Imagine only making two dollars an hour with a baby on the way, struggling to pay for basic necessities for your family ("Danny Thomas" Encyclopedia). Under these circumstances, you find yourself sitting in front of a church praying to God for a miracle. That was Danny Thomas, the founder of St. Jude's Research Hospital. Born as Muzyad Yakhoob on January 6th, 1914 ("Danny Thomas" Encyclopedia), Danny struggled from the beginning. By the age of fifteen, Thomas had dropped out of high school and was selling candy at a theater in New York ("Danny Thomas" Encyclopedia). Although Danny had obstacles in his life, he put those aside and became one of the most well-known comedians. Although, Danny Thomas was not just a comedian, he was an inspiration to all because of his selfless and hardworking acts through St. Jude's Research Hospital.

Because of Danny Thomas's selflessness, he was able to positively impact children all around the globe. After receiving the miracle he had wished for, Thomas was grateful and pursued selflessness through seeking a place where children could come and receive treatment from: "...creating a unique research hospital devoted to curing catastrophic diseases in children. More than just a treatment facility, this would be a research center for the children of the world" ("Danny Thomas" St. Jude). Once Danny had made the promise of the shrine, he knew what he wanted to do. Instead of being an ordinary church, he wanted it to be a place in which people could be helped and their diseases could be cured. Thomas was devoted to building this hospital and making it a home for sick children. "For years, he had carried a newspaper clipping in his wallet describing how an 8-year-old black child from Mississippi had been hit by a car while riding his bike. The child ultimately died because no hospital would admit him. As a result of this tragedy, Danny dreamt of a place in the South where children could go for medical treatment regardless of their race, religion, or family finances. He considered establishing a modest hospital with just four beds" (Pawlak). Once hearing this story, Thomas was immediately inspired to create a hospital for anyone. He didn't care what race they were, religion, color, or the amount of money they had, all he cared about was helping and treating them. Danny Thomas's selflessness lead to the survival rate of cancer going from 20% to 80% ("Danny Thomas" St. Jude). Danny Thomas's selflessness shined through the millions of lives he saved.

Thomas's hard work ethic paid off as he built a foundation in which was only a dream in the beginning. While having a child on its way, Danny was making two dollars an hour which was not enough to support the soon to be, three of them. He then started his first job in the acting business: "Frequent amateur hour appearances finally led to paying work--$2 a night--at local beer gardens that sold.... However, with a new baby--future That Girl star Marlo--and the haphazard nature of show business bookings, the entertainer struggled, and his family was in jeopardy. His wife pleaded for him to quit performing and go into the grocery business." "In 1944 the agent landed Thomas the role of Jerry Dingle the postman on Fanny Brice's CBS radio smash The Baby Snooks Show" ("Danny Thomas" Encyclopedia). After Danny became a successful actor, he remembered the promise he had made to the St. Jude Thaddeus Church. He had begged for a miracle in return of him building the saint a shrine ("Danny Thomas" St. Jude). As Thomas was building the idea of St. Jude he needed more people to see the vision he had seen about it, he had to raise money to fund it. "Often accompanied by his wife, Rose Marie, Danny crisscrossed the United States by car, sharing his dream and raising funds at meetings and benefits...Danny Thomas and his wife once visited 28 cities in 32 days... Danny Thomas and his friends raised the money to build the hospital, they now faced the daunting task of funding its annual operation" ("Danny Thomas" St. Jude). Once Danny had finished a week of hard work and dedication, he realized there was only more to come. Once he realized that, he did not back away from his dream, he only stepped closer.

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As Danny Thomas once said "Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others." He motivated others by his acts with St. Jude Research Hospital, after overcoming many obstacles in life, Thomas's hard work and selflessness shined through. "Despite his outward bravado, he was filled with second thoughts during his solitary drive to the Windy City. When he reached his destination, self-doubt got the best of him. He decided to call Rosie and tell her he had changed his mind. When he stopped the car to make the call, he found himself in front of a Catholic church. That was his defining moment. He knew he belonged in Chicago: "I felt a sudden surge of something I can't explain. It wasn't mystical or supernatural. But my brain became filled with the overwhelming thought: 'Oh, ye of little faith!'" (Pawlak). After self-doubt got the best out of him, Thomas ended up right back where he started, looking for a miracle. Once he found the answer again he had to ask himself again: What do I want in life? How will I get there? Thomas is an inspiration to all because after life kept on throwing more and more problems his way, he found his way through it and stood up even stronger in the ending.

Works Consulted

"Danny Thomas." Encyclopedia of World Biography, vol. 28, Gale, 2008. Biography in Context, Accessed 27 Apr. 2017.

"Danny Thomas." St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 April 2017. .

"Danny Thomas." Newsmakers, Gale, 1991. Student Resources in Context, Accessed 2 May 2017Pawlak, Debra Ann.

"Danny Thomas: funny man and philanthropist." Michigan History Magazine, vol. 97, no. 5, 2013, p. 15+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 1 May 2017.

Page created on 5/23/2017 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 12/20/2021 6:56:54 PM

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