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Campaign memorializing sickle cell pioneer Dr. Rudolph Jackson raises more than $2 million for St. Jude

Jackson was one of St. Jude's first Black doctors, and developed a program which enrolled thousands of Memphis infants and mothers to receive nutritional assistance.
Credit: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dr. Rudolph Jackson, a pioneering researcher of sickle cell disease and one of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's first Black doctors, was honored at St. Jude as supporters and Dr. Jackson’s family members attended a June 23 event, which celebrated the more than $2 million raised through the ongoing Dr. Rudolph Jackson Campaign.

To honor Dr. Jackson, two plaques were unveiled at the entrance of the Weiss Hematology Lab in the Danny Thomas Research Center, where blood disorders such as sickle cell disease are researched. 

Two organizations, ABCD & Company and the Speer Charitable Trust, earned naming rights on the plaque with $500,000 donations, the latter of which will be over a broader five-year commitment to St. Jude.

“It is a beautiful tribute to the lifesaving work of Dr. Jackson,” said Reginald Porter, Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer and Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude.

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Jackson’s considerable impact reached beyond the treatment of sickle cell disease to address anemia, parasitic infections and growth impairments that also threatened children in the 1960s, especially those in low-income households. 

He helped develop a program under which St. Jude enrolled thousands of local infants and mothers to receive nutritional assistance, medicine and diapers. The program served as a prototype for WIC, the federal initiative for women, infants and children.

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The dedication ceremony aligned with a series of events marking the 60th anniversary of the opening of St. Jude in 1962.

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