St. Jude Hoards Billions While Many of Its Families Drain Their Savings
A series of sharp knocks on his driver’s side window startled Jason Burt awake.
It was the middle of the night on a Saturday in 2016. Burt was sleeping in his pickup truck in the parking lot of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, where his 5-year-old daughter was being treated for brain cancer. He’d driven more than 500 miles from his home in Central Texas to visit her.
A St. Jude security guard peered into the truck and asked Burt what he was doing. Burt explained that his daughter and her mother, his ex-girlfriend, were staying in the hospital’s free patient housing. But St. Jude provides housing for only one parent. Burt, a school bus driver making $20,000 a year, told the guard he couldn’t afford a hotel. The guard let the exhausted father go back to sleep.
St. Jude would do no more to find him a place to stay.
“They were aware of the situation,” Burt said. “I didn’t push anything. I was just grateful she was getting treated and I was doing what I needed to do.”