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Father reflects on FedEx plane named for his son, 8-yr-old St Jude patient and cancer survivor

June 4, 2013

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.

Hayes Express

Hayes Express family

Hayes Brown and the FedEx plane named after him


    Sharan says:

    CB….this is great news. Sheer serendipity brought me to the site today…when I saw your “face” on the page. I am doubly proud and excited for you’ll especially with the SJ Golf timing.
    Best wishes to the Brown family..and especially Hayes.

    Demetria says:

    Chris, thanks for sharing your story. You and your family have been a true inspiration as you journeyed through this process. I recall the day when you and your family received Hayes’ diagnosis. The strength and fortitude you displayed then and still today have been paramount. I wish the entire Brown Family all the best!

    Robin Tucker says:

    What an awesome honor for Hayes! I remember when your family’s journey began and I am so pleased to know that Hayes is doing well…happy and healthy!! Your story is a true testament of caring, love and the spirit behind those who believe!! This is a monumental event your family will never forget.

    arelis acosta says:

    I think this is a very good initiative
    that should do in all around the world

    Deb. Jones says:

    Chris, This IS inspiring, encouraging and a blessing. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Hemant Arora says:

    Thanks for sharing your story….very happy for your family. Congratulations to Hayes and THANKS to St. Jude!

    Meena Vyavahare says:


    Thanks for sharing your story.
    St. Jude is doing Noble work in this area. Very happy for you, your family and Hayes. Best Wishes!

    Marynelle Taylor says:

    Chris, What an awesome story! I have worked here 38 years and can honestly say I have seen FedEx and it’s family of employees help people over and over again. I am glad your son is well and congratulate you on the honor of having a plane named after him. It is a great way to recognize his courage and determination to survive what he has been through at such an early age. Best of luck to you and your family !

    Marynelle Taylor says:

    Chris, What an awesome story ! I know you and your family are very proud of him. He is a real trooper to go through chemo and all it endures. I have worked here 38 years and have seen Fedex, and hundreds of employees help their FedEx family through many tough times. It is nice to know they are here when we need them, and even better to give to those who need us. Congrats to Hayes. It is quite an honor to have a FedEx plane named after you. Not too many can claim that, so he should enjoy it and treasure the recogntion for what he has been through. Best of luck to you and your family ! Marynelle

    Lin says:

    Chris, you have always been an inspiror and giver, especially during Hurrican Katrina in 2005. Blessings to Hayes and your family.

    arpit says:

    Chris, thank you for sharing your story. very very happy for Hayes and your family. Thanks you- St.Jude/FedEx as well for making this happen.


    Tara Rasher says:

    So glad that your son is healthy and happy. I have a 3 year old grandaughter and hope and pray that she will never have to go through this. What an awesome honor and show of appreciation to have your son’s name on that plane. God is good and used your FedEx family to help you through it. We are blessed to work for such a great company.

    Amanda Gex says:

    Chris, what a well deserved honor! I’m very happy for your and your family. Congratulations.

    Angel says:

    Thanks for sharing your Story. This really inspire us to keep working hard and help the ones that are in need. May God bless you and your family…

    Linda Feathers says:

    Chris, I too am elated to hear of Hayes’ recovery and that his health is restored! FedEx is truly a giving-from-the-heart-family who help so many in devastating times.

    God Bless,

    Former volunteer for the FedEx St. Jude Classic / Hometown-Memphian

    Tracie says:

    Chris what an amazing and inspiring story. I saw this on the news this morning and I did not have a clue that this was your son. Congratulation to your son, to you and your family. Best wishes to you all and kudos to FedEx and thanks St Jude.

    Lori Mayer says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Chris. So happy that Hunter is now doing well. St. Jude and FedEx are both truly amazing organizations and Hayes’ story is one of inspiration and hope!! <3

    Teresa says:

    I’m so glad Hayes is doing so well! What an honor it is to have a FedEx plane dedicated to your son. You have a beautiful family and I wish you all nothing but the best!

    Ginger Moll says:

    Hi Chris – I just read your story and it gives me chills (good ones!) to hear how well Hayes is doing. I know first hand what your family has gone through. My daughter was 12 yrs old when diagnosed & went to St. Jude. She is now 24 yrs old doing well. We are blessed to be in a city where we have the best children’s hospital in the world and FedEx could not have been better to me & my family during this time. Praying angels watch over your family & especially Hayes. Perhaps one day he will fly that plane named after him!

    Sheila Thornton says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, and I’m thrilled that Hayes is doing so well. Congratulations and may God continue to bless you and your entire family.

    Michael Milligan says:

    Chris – so glad to see Hayes healthy. We’re very happy for you and the family.

    Thomas McDonald says:

    Congratulations Hayes and the Brown family! You deserve it.

    Veena Samuel says:


    Thanks for sharing your awesome story. Hayes has indeed proved to be a strong and courageous boy. I congratulate him on fighting this disease and coming out a WINNER. What an honour it is to have one’s name on a FedEx aircraft. St. Jude is also doing commendable work. I wish you and your wonderful family all the very best for future – God bless you!

    Veena Samuel

    Allen Duncan says:

    Chris, this is fabulous and as already said, it makes all of us that support St Jude feel great and proud that we helped in some small way. The before and after pictures provided is so inspiring, it begs to give more of our selves for this miracle operation and research at St Jude that was started by one unselfish person. Danny Thomas, GOD rest his sole, but his legacy will live on forever.

    May GOD continue to BLESS you and your family for the trying times you all have persevered.

    Remco de Jong says:

    Chris this is awesome!!!

    I can realy relate to this.

    My daughter Alyssa was diagnosed with melanoma last May. They cancer started on her arm and traveled to her lymph node. She had three surgeries along with numerous tests, procedures and scans. St. Jude provided my daughter with the most top notch and compassionate care possible. They even went further to help diagnose her rare chromosome syndrome that we have spent 10 years searching for.
    Just as our family was starting to put some distance between us and cancer, we were hit again. My six year old nephew Tyler (his dad Sean West also works for FedEx) was diagnosed with leukemia in February. We were absolutely knocked off our feet. Tyler is doing great and is in the 3rd phase of his treatment, however he still has a long road ahead. The total treatment is 3 years.

    Cindricka Arrington says:

    Awesome! Blessings to Hayes, Chris and your family. Chris, Hayes looks much like you and I remember when you shaved your head during Hayes’ chemo to identify with him. Glad to hear of God working in your lives continuously! Cindricka

    Liesl says:

    Chris, Hayes, and the gang,
    What a great story of a strong family, and a great network! Congratulations on your health, and the plane! Best wishes for continued happiness!

    SHELIA OWENS says:


    Marvin White says:


    What a great story. I know firsthand how beneficial St. Jude and FedEx support can be to a family with a sick child. You have a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing with us!

    Madhura Deshpande says:

    What an incredible journey Chris! God bless Hayes and your entire family. You are all an inspiration to many!

    Shirl Riddick says:

    Chris, Hayes and Family – What a blessing FedEx is to all of us and especially when this Company does wonderful things like this. Our children are our future; we must all continue to do all that we can to make sure they are all healthy and happy. God bless your family and God bless FedEx! Shirl

    Kent Emerson says:

    Chris, thanks for sharing your inspirational story. Best wishes to you and your family.

    Salina Xu says:

    Chris, I’m so happy to hear about Hayes’ recovery and congratulations to your family! Thank you for sharing your story and thank you to St. Jude for a great job!

    Ed Barchak says:

    Chris, Thank you for sharing your story. This makes me feel very happy for you and your family as well as proud to be a member of the FedEx family.

    Kathy Petros says:

    What a well written blog about the strength of your family. Unfortunately, my family too, understands what happens when the doctor says that 6 letter word. When we heard that our 7 year old daughter possibly had cancer, we had to leave Alaska as no diagnosis or treatment was available at home. Happily, that was 20 years ago and our daughter is a very healthy and happy young woman. It is research that is done by ST. Jude that is shared with treatment centers all over the world, that helps to bring the cures we were fortunate to experience. Cancer affects the entire family, parents and siblings, too. It is nice to know that our FedEx families are there for us as well.

    Anissa Galbraith says:

    What a wonderful story. Many years of continued health for your son and your family. Thank you for sharing.

    marco barrera says:

    God Bless Chris Hayes and Family

    Grant Wood says:

    Chris & family, what a wonderful story of determination on the part of so many, from your family, your Fedex family,your St Jude family,and most important,your son Hayes.
    What better way to show the world the importance of your St Jude Hospital, then to have Hayes’s name proudly displayed.

    Blessings to you Hayes !!

    Lisa says:

    Congrats Chris, Hayes and family. Best wishes to all of your family.

    Arnaud says:

    What a nice family. You give us all a lesson of courage, solidarity and hope.

    Carol says:

    Thanks for sharing such a great story with a happy ending. God Bless you & your family! Carol YQG

    Veronica says:

    I’m very happy for you and your family. What wonderful news. Many blessings for you all.

    Esther Maina says:

    Wow! What a wonderful story!! Thanks for sharing, Chris.

    Haye’s story makes it all worthwhile to continue supporting St. Jude Children’s hospital!

    Michele Pelligrino says:

    What a heart touching story with a happy ending all the way around, congrats!! God Bless

    Janice Tan says:

    I admire your son’s courage and strength to fight his illness at such a young age.

    Thanks for sharing a happy ending and I could share this with another FedEx colleague who is going through the same situation as you.

    Congrats and wish Hayes a good health and best wishes to Chris & family!

    Clem says:

    Aloha Chris, Thank you for sharing such a great story,way out here in hawaii, we feel the stress your family had to endur during the early times of Hayes illness.This is one of the reasons we at fedex have come to understand that we are one family no matter where we come from we still support each other during times like this. Thanks to the awesome dreams of out founder that we all live with that same feelings.Aloha

    Jose Ibarra Jr says:

    Another great St Jude/FedEx story. Chris Family you are blessed to have such a great family in your corner. Continued health and God Bless. I have a family member that is cancer survivor because St Jude worked its miracles. And they do it everyday. Way to hang in there Hayes, God Bless You.

    irma voyles says:

    may god bless you an your family an what a great honor for your son hayes….such a happy ending thank ypu st judes an for everyone who donates so these children have a fighting chance….thank you fedex for being there when 1 of the fedex family needs your support…god bless

    Victor Lopez says:

    What a beautiful family you have. Dont ever give up the fight,love is in your corner and you already won. May the gate of Heavens blessings be poured on your family.

    Mickey says:

    Such a heart touching story! Blessings to you and your family Hayes. Please continue to send contributions to St Judes and all Children’s hospitals. I have a grandson with Left Heart Hypoplasty, meaning he only has the right side of his heart. He will need a heart transplant as a half of heart cannot support a full grown body. He is 11 now. Please, please help support these hospitals/foundations if you are able. Happy Holidays!!

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