St. Jude – Helping children big and small

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital strive to help all children of all ages.

Most of them are small children, but cancer can show up at any age.

Tarquavious Gray was almost 18 when he was diagnosed, but that is typical of the tumor he has.

He was 17 when he was diagnosed with a rare tumor in his abdomen. He barely qualified to get in to St. Jude because 18 is the cut-off age.  But Tarquavious has used his elder statesman status among the other patients in a very helpful way.       

"Some new people, they come here like kinda scared, not knowing what to do," said Tarquavious. "And whenever I see them I tell them it’s not what they think it is, or how it is.  That it’s actually good to be here, there’s so much help.  Like the doctors and nurses are doing whatever they can to comfort you and keep you safe."

Tarquavious is from a small southern town where there’s not much to do. And even though Adel, Georgia is farther south than Memphis, he’s learned a lot about Southern cooking during his time at St. Jude. 

"Normally back home, I wouldn’t have barbecue like that.  It’d be like once every often.  Like on a Saturday or something," said Tarquavious.

He’s also lost count of the biscuits he’s eaten.

"I’m like, aw man, that’s delicious," said Tarquavious. "I was in-patient, and I was staying there for the week, so that whole week for breakfast I ate biscuits and gravy."

Tarquavious always thought he’d join the Army but his cancer has derailed that.  With the great eating experience he’s had at St. Jude, he’s now considering some sort of career in food.

"See, there’s cooking books, but I don’t like to follow the ingredients.  Put my own twist to it, what I think will make it be better than what the actual people make.  I’m going to out-do them and make mine better," said Tarquavious.

Whatever Qway’s future holds, he approaches it with three words he says he’s made his motto.

"Live to inspire," said Tarquavious.