Father reflects on FedEx plane named for his son, 8-yr-old St Jude patient and cancer survivor
FedEx Express is naming a Cessna Caravan plane in honor of a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patient, the son of a FedEx team member. The dedication event takes place in conjunction with the 2013 FedEx St. Jude Classic golf tournament at TPC Southwind in Memphis, TN.
The boy’s father, Chris Brown share his thoughts:
In 13 years with FedEx, I have watched colleagues give selflessly to customers, to other colleagues, and to complete strangers. From the all-hands-on-deck support after a natural disaster to a small, private gesture of support for a colleague in need, our people always come through. Starting in January of 2010, I was on the receiving end of this giving.
That is the month that my then five-year old son, Hayes, was diagnosed with cancer.
Through nearly three years of chemotherapy, surgeries, recurrence, more chemotherapy, and more surgeries, my work family never left my side. Food, words of encouragement, hospital visits, toys and prayers were gentle reminders that they were always there for me.
Having a FedEx plane named after your child is an enormous honor for any FedEx employee. Having a FedEx plane branded with the St. Jude logo and named after your happy, healthy eight-year old is almost beyond words. In many ways, this plane is a symbol of the support and care that FedEx colleagues provide each other in the most difficult of times.
If Hayes had been born 50 years ago, this story would probably have a much different ending. When you look at what childhood cancer survival rates were when Danny Thomas laid out his vision for St. Jude and then think about Mr. Smith’s vision for FedEx over 40 years ago, it’s easy to see that Hayes is living proof of dreams supporting dreams. To me this plane is the embodiment of those visions coming together and I am honored that it is my son is a part of it.
My hope is that this plane also serves as a reminder that the work is not done. St. Jude was able to treat my son because someone gave long before Hayes was a patient.
Tomorrow, another parent will enter the front doors of St. Jude and donations from someone who doesn’t even know his child will help save her.
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December 5, 2016
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