Lindsey Wilkerson and Joel Alsup
When Lindsey and Joel were children, they were both patients at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Tennessee. Lindsey suffered from acute Lymphoblastic leukemia, and Joel had bone cancer. Both were patients there because this hospital specializes in treating children with cancer.
St. Jude’s Beginnings
The hospital was established in Memphis in the 1960s. The story behind the beginning of the hospital is pretty amazing. Danny Thomas, a future television star, was visiting a church in Detroit, Michigan. At the time, he was struggling to make ends meet with his growing family. He decided to donate the little bit of cash that he had to the collection box, and he prayed. He prayed to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. He asked that his financial situation improve. Within a few days, his prayers were answered, and he got a job that came with a big paycheck. He said another prayer, making a vow to St. Jude. He told St. Jude that if he made it big in the entertainment industry that he would build a shrine in his name. When he did make it big, he started the plan for a new hospital.
Joel was a patient at St. Jude in 1987. Like most of the children who were being treated at the hospital, he was in need of a new discovery that could save his life. Joel was 7-years-old when his father realized that something was wrong. He was right-handed, and his father noticed that he was struggling to use his dominant hand. Because things weren’t improving over time, his father’s concern grew. Joel struggled to catch a tennis ball and buckle his seat belt. Joel’s doctors suggested they take him to St. Jude, which the family had never heard of before. There, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, and the tumor was growing in his right arm. Over the next few months, Joel went through chemotherapy. Next, they considered amputating his arm. Before completing his chemo, the doctors amputated his arm. Joel didn’t get too upset. He says that he was more worried about losing his hair.
Lindsey was living in Crane, Missouri when her symptoms started. She had no appetite, she was always tired, and she was bruising easily. Her mother took her to the doctor to see what was going on. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 1991. Her parents heard of St. Jude Children’s Hospital, so they packed up and drove all night to get Lindsey the treatment necessary to save her life. She started chemo, and it lasted for two years. She had many ups and downs during this time, but she was strong.
Although Joel and Lindsey were in the same hospital, their paths didn’t cross until they both attended a St. Jude fundraiser. Both of their families were asked to speak at the fundraiser about their conditions and treatments. When Lindsey heard Joel’s story, she says that she remembers being very impressed with his bravery. She says that she also thought that he was cute and had a great sense of humor.
Over time, the two got close and became good friends. Lindsey admits to having a huge crush on Joel. Joel says that he thought that she was beautiful, but being a shy 13-year-old boy, he never told her how he felt. When they got older, they went their separate ways, attending different universities. They never expected to reunite one day in the future, but they did.
Returning To St. Jude
Joel returned to St. Jude in 2003 after the hospital recruited him for work. Lindsey went back to the hospital in 2004, a year after getting married. She had no idea that Joel was working there as well, and the two started their friendship right where they left off. St. Jude saved both of their lives, so it was a no brainer that they would work there when they were asked.
Lindsey Became a Mom
Shortly after starting at St. Jude, Lindsey became a mother to a son named Jacob and a daughter named Audrey. Unfortunately, Lindsey’s marriage fell apart, and they divorced after 12-years of marriage. A year after Lindsey’s divorce, she and Joel started looking at each other in a different light. What was once a good friendship became a lot more. While the two watched the movie, Alien one night, they admitted their true feelings for one another.
Two years after professing their love for one another, Lindsey and Joel got married. Because St. Jude was such a big part of their life, they were married on the hospital grounds. The hospital’s head chaplain, Brent Powell presided over the ceremony.
Happily Ever After
Decades after two sick children met in a hospital; they then found each other back there again. This time, they were going to make it forever.