Helping a Legendary Children’s Hospital Put Telecom Savings to Work to Help Save Lives

St. Jude Research Hospital Success Story

When entertainer Danny Thomas founded St. Jude Research Hospital for Children more than 50 years ago, he was—the story goes—fulfilling a promise he made to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. As a young man casting about for his purpose in life, Thomas pledged to St. Jude that he would build a shrine in the saint’s name if St. Jude Thaddeus would point the young man in the right direction. When Danny Thomas’ career took off in the mid-1950s, so too did plans to build a unique children’s hospital in Memphis, TN.

When St. Jude Research Hospital for Children finally opened its doors in 1962, the survival rate for children battling cancer was 20 percent. The odds were even worse for children afflicted with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): a mere 4 percent. Today, thanks in large measure to the research efforts being undertaken at the children’s hospital, the rate of survival for childhood cancer has soared to 80 percent; for ALL, the rate of survival stands at 94 percent.

Funded entirely by individual contributions, St. Jude is unique in another important way: Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food. The mission has expanded to include other life-threatening childhood diseases as well as cancer, and the work of the hospital remains the same as when Danny Thomas first declared that “no child should die in the dawn of life.”

Not surprisingly, when the hospital sought assistance with its Avaya systems, one of its goals was to find a service provider that would help them save valuable dollars on maintenance and support—funds that could be directed toward the hospital’s core mission instead. In 2015, St. Jude decided to work with Continuant—not just for the substantial savings over the OEM, but also because of Continuant’s reputation for service that goes “above and beyond the call.”

Today, Continuant maintains some 7,700 ports for the hospital’s Avaya 5.2 system and 2,136 modular messaging subscribers. Since transitioning its maintenance and support contract from Avaya to Continuant, St. Jude has saved some $30,000 a year–allowing the costs saved to be directed to this legendary hospital’s mission of finding cures, saving lives, and helping families of hospitalized children.