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ALSAC/St. Jude Mourns the Loss of Former CEO Richard C. Shadyac Sr.

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Richard C. Shadyac Sr., who served 13 years as CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital(R), passed away Wednesday evening after battling a long-term illness.

Shadyac was a long-time Board member and close confidant for many years of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas. He played a critical stabilizing role for ALSAC when he took over as CEO in 1992, not long after Thomas passed away. He was a champion of St. Jude patients and was noted for getting to know them personally, keeping many of their photos in his office during his years as CEO.

David L. McKee, ALSAC's chief operating officer, served with Shadyac throughout his tenure and called him "a great leader who helped propel ALSAC and St. Jude to unprecedented heights."

"Mr. Shadyac always said that being CEO of ALSAC wasn't a job. It was a love affair," McKee said. "We will always remember his devotion, his commitment and his love for the children of St. Jude. He motivated his staff to achieve their best through his own dedication, and he invested his all into raising the funds that St. Jude needed to continue its lifesaving work."

Shadyac, a former attorney, joined the ALSAC/St. Jude Board of Directors and Governors in 1963 and acted as general counsel for ALSAC. He served as chairman of the ALSAC Board of Directors in the 1960s and 1970s and as the chairman of the St. Jude Board of Governors in the 1980s. In 1992, he was appointed CEO of ALSAC following the retirement of Baddia J. Rashid. Shadyac retired in 2005, but continued to serve as a member of the Board.

"The Board of Directors feels a great loss today," said Camille Sarrouf Jr., chairman of the ALSAC Board of Directors. "We have lost one of the legends of our organization and arguably the most tireless advocate of our cause since Danny Thomas and Mike Tamer, the first CEO of ALSAC, launched this remarkable institution."

Dr. William E. Evans, director and CEO of St. Jude, said that Shadyac always did what it took to support the mission of St. Jude.

"As a Board member and then as ALSAC CEO, Dick Shadyac was always there for us, doing whatever was necessary to ensure we had the resources to provide unsurpassed patient care and world-class research for children with catastrophic diseases," Evans said. "He never lost his drive or his focus - it was always on the children."

During his tenure as CEO, public support for St. Jude increased from around $100 million a year in 1992 to more than $400 million in 2005. By the time he retired, ALSAC had become the third largest health-care charity in the United States. Today, it is the second largest, according to the Philanthropy 400, an annual survey conducted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

"Dick Shadyac was a tireless champion of our mission and every child and their parents who walked through the doors of St. Jude," said Marlo Thomas, national outreach director of St. Jude and daughter of founder Danny Thomas. "We are not just losing a great man, we are losing a patriarch of our St. Jude family who played a critical role in the history of St. Jude and ALSAC. He is with my dear father now. I hope we make them proud as we follow the path they have set for us."

Joseph G. Shaker, who served as chairman of the ALSAC Board of Directors during Shadyac's tenure as CEO, offered praise by comparing Shadyac to the founder of St. Jude, saying, "When you say Danny Thomas, the next words you say are Dick Shadyac. You can't get any closer to living the legend of Danny Thomas than through Dick Shadyac. The entire St. Jude family is going to miss him greatly."

Services will be held in the Washington, D.C. area and in Memphis.

Shadyac can be honored through memorials made to St. Jude at

About St. Jude

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit

SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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