St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has raised funds in honor of the first Black research physician to work at the hospital.

The Dr. Rudolph Jackson Campaign will uphold the late doctor’s legacy for his pioneering work as a researcher of sickle cell disease. During a July event, supporters and members of Dr. Jackson’s family celebrated raising more than $2 million.

Funds were raised by the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) and significant donors included ABCD & Company, a marketing and event agency located in Rockville, MD. The organization made a donation of $500,000.

Honoring Dr. Jackson

“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. “It will create a meaningful legacy on campus in a place where Dr. Jackson can continue to inspire everyone who sees it from young patients and their families to the researchers of today.”

Beyond his studies on treating sickle cell disease, he also developed a program at St. Jude to enroll thousands of local infants and their mothers in a program to receive nutritional assistance before the federal initiative for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) was developed.

The Legacy Continues

Dr. Jackson’s daughters continue to shed light on their father’s legacy through various fundraising events and sharing stories about their father.

“It was important for my dad to understand what it was like for all African Americans,” said one of Dr. Jackson’s daughters, Kimberly Marter. “He wanted to make sure that other physicians came up with the same type of education and opportunities in other hospitals so that we would have representation all across the world.”

His daughter Kelley Alexander was among those in the crowd during the unveiling of the two plaques that now sit at the entrance of Weiss Hematology Lab in the Danny Thomas Research Center at the hospital. It is where the fight to combat sickle cell continues through a team lead by Dr. Mitchell J. Weiss.

“Even after retirement, he was still a mentor to many younger physicians,” said Alexander. “He was doing community service and he had this compassion for letting African Americans know they had someone as an advocate for their health. We’re very proud of him.”