Main Street Journal

June 2006 Issue


Main Street Journal is the leading conservative magazine in West Tennessee. Subscribe online — it’s safe and easy!

Main Street Journal - June 2006This month’s features:

On the River

Jonathan Lindberg: Three-Legged Senate Race

Drew Harris: Unclogging Shelby Farms

Judge Arnold Goldin: Letter from the Bench: On Adoption

On the Road

Nicholas Carraway: Reverend Al Sharpton

Judith Conroy: Judith’s Picks

Tennessee Healthcare: A Look at ‘Cover Tennessee’

Governor Phil Bredesen: A View from the Capitol

NFIB State Director Gary Selvy: A View from Small Business

Feature Articles

Cal Thomas: Retired Summer Soldiers

Five Races to Watch: Key Races Facing Shelby County

Cathy Armstrong: Inside the Ronald McDonald House

Daniel E. Johnson: Pulling Together or Pulling Apart

Ties that Bind

George Conroy: Israeli Business and High Tech

Diane Jalfron: Museum Mitzvah

Felice & Michael Friedson: In Touch From Jerusalem

Toward the End

On the Shelf:
Jonathan Lindberg: Politics Lost

Back Page
On the Money: Chuck Bates: The Real Cost of Immigration Part II

Inside the Ronald McDonald House


How St. Jude and the Ronald McDonald House are Changing Lives in Memphis

By Cathy Armstrong

Ask Pat and Nancy Quinlan about their family’s stay at the Ronald McDonald House while their four-year old son was being treated for cancer and it becomes apparent that while the ultimate goal of St. Jude is a cure for catastrophic childhood diseases, the hospital is equally determined to make the treatment process a positive experience as well.

“St. Jude and all of its facilities do such a good job of taking care of the little things - making sure you have a place to sleep, clean towels, food to eat, something to do - so that you have every opportunity to do your best for your children as a parent,” says Nancy.

The road that led the Quinlan’s to St. Jude began on Labor Day weekend in 2004. With Hurricane Frances bearing down on the east coast, it was hardly business as usual at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. The threatening weather brought power outages, loss of treatment facilities and extra staff staying overnight in case of emergencies. But to the Quinlans, the Category 3 hurricane was little more than a nuisance. Brian, their chubby faced, rosy-cheeked, always active son had been tentatively diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). What could be more threatening than that? With all of the area labs closed due to the weather and the holiday weekend, it would likely be Tuesday before the bone marrow biopsy would be read that would determine a definitive diagnosis.

“There was little we could do but wait. We’re both attorneys and we’ve learned from work that often in the medical field there’s one person that rises above the rest in their field. I wanted to find that person, the one who had the most experience for the longest amount of time treating children with Brian’s type of leukemia. But the hospital staff was sleeping in the family life center so even when the electricity came on, we couldn’t get in there to use the computer.”

Finally the hurricane passed and Pat was able to access the computer. Working all night, he finally walked into Brian’s room in the wee hours of morning and announced to Nancy, “The doctor is Pui and the hospital is St. Jude.” He then began to share all that he had learned about Dr. Ching-Hon Pui (pronounced Poo-ee), a St. Jude physician who was devoting his life to the treatment and cure of Brian’s form of cancer.

The Quinlan’s also learned that in the midst of the horrific news there were a few reasons to be hopeful. When St. Jude opened its doors in 1962, ALL was a devastating death sentence for all but 4 percent of the children diagnosed with the disease. Today, St. Jude doctors and scientists are realizing a cure rate of 85 to 90 percent. Also, Brian’s young age would be in his favor. The best ages for successful treatment of ALL are between one and ten.

Realizing that Brian would need a referral to be treated by Dr. Pui, Nancy pleaded with one of the chemo nurses to contact a fellow nurse at St. Jude. Before long she returned to the room with the unbelievable news that Dr. Pui himself was on the phone. “I had just finished reading all the titles of the books and articles and research papers Dr. Pui had written on ALL and he was on the phone? I just started to shake. I knew this was my chance to save Brian’s life,” Nancy says. “I told him, ‘I know who you are. I know you’re the best. Please treat my little boy’.”

“The next phone call to Brian’s room was from a lady in Memphis. Her words were ‘the plane leaves West Palm Beach at 6:50. Dr. Pui says you need to be on it.’ It was 2:00 in the afternoon and we were in a hospital an hour and a half away from West Palm. Brian was still hooked up to IV’s, the hurricane had wreaked havoc on the roadways and I barely had more than the clothes on my back. But if Dr. Pui said we should be on that plane I determined that we would be on it even if I had to carry Brian down I-95 to the airport,” Nancy recalls.

With electricity still out from the hurricane, neighbors brought flashlights and empty suitcases and were waiting on the front lawn when the Quinlans arrived at their West Palm Beach home. Thirty minutes later they were waving goodbye and boarding a plane to Memphis.

Landing at around midnight, the lack of sleep from the last several days, took its toll. “We were in a drowsy state watching this luggage circling around and around when it finally occurred to us that we were looking for our luggage, when in fact we had packed our neighbors’ luggage. We didn’t have a clue what it looked like,” laughs Nancy.

Waiting at the airport was a St. Jude shuttle to take the Quinlans to the hospital. “I remember when we arrived the first thing we saw was the statue of St. Jude. Then we walked into the lobby and I saw the colorful walls. But the really happy part about it was that we saw these tricycles sitting everywhere. Brian ran to a tricycle, hopped on and started riding around the lobby of St. Jude Hospital after midnight. I said to myself, it’s going to be okay,” Nancy says.

Soon after their arrival the Quinlan’s settled into a routine of hospital visits, chemo treatments and check-up appo