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St. Jude Celebrates Next Frontier of Finding Cures With Grand Opening of Chili's Care Center

Chili's Grill & Bar, other partners and donors share in success

Governor Phil Bredesen welcomes researchers into the new National Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium headquarters

Chili's Care Center culmination of best practice learning in translational research for exceptional patient care

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital(R) and Chili's Grill & Bar(R) celebrated the national grand opening of the Chili's Care Center during a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting today. The opening of the Chili's Care Center, which will house the major treatment and research programs for brain tumor and bone marrow transplant patients, represents a major milestone in translational research and patient care capabilities in the fight to save children battling cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. The brain tumor program at St. Jude is the largest protocol-based pediatric brain tumor program in the country.

The Chili's Care Center grand opening speakers included Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen; Tony Thomas, St. Jude Board of Governors and son of Danny Thomas; John P. Moses, CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude; William E. Evans, Pharm.D., director and CEO, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; Doug Brooks, CEO and President, Brinker International, the parent company of Chili's Grill & Bar; and Todd Diener, President, Chili's Grill & Bar.

The Chili's Care Center was named in honor of Chili's close partnership with St. Jude. After holding a local and then a regional fundraising campaign for St. Jude in 2002 and 2003, Chili's began a national campaign in 2004 to raise funds through Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer, which occurs every September to coincide with National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The campaign offers Chili's guests the opportunity to donate to St. Jude by customizing a signature Chili's pepper coloring sheet. In addition, Chili's began donating 100 percent of its profits to St. Jude from Donate Profits Day -- held each year on the last Monday in September. Over the life of the partnership, Chili's has donated more than $18.7 million for the hospital, with an astounding $8.2 million coming from the 2007 campaign alone. These funds contribute to Chili's 10-year plan to donate $50 million for the construction of the Chili's Care Center.

"Through their dedication, nearly 75,000 Chili's Grill & Bar team members made the 2007 Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign a resounding success," said Todd Diener, president, Chili's Grill & Bar. "This year's campaign once again exceeded our highest expectations, totaling more than $8.2 million for the patients of St. Jude, bringing us closer to our goal of raising $50 million and making the Chili's Care Center building we are dedicating today a reality."

"As we stand at the foot of the Chili's Care Center in celebration today, I want to thank Chili's Grill & Bar and our other partners who helped make this dream possible. We are truly overwhelmed by your dedication to help St. Jude provide unsurpassed patient care and unparalleled scientific research, and you can know that you have helped bring hope to thousands of children from around the world," said John P. Moses, chief executive officer of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude.

The Chili's Care Center combines 21st Century imaging and treatment technology with St. Jude's almost half-century approach to medical research: put patients and scientists in the same building to fast-track the translation of new knowledge into better care for our children. The seven-story, 340,000-square-foot facility will house major research initiatives in both diagnostic and therapeutic radiology. The Chili's Care Center possesses state-of-the-art equipment such as a cyclotron that will provide an array of new research initiatives in nuclear chemistry and nuclear medicine by using novel radiolabeled pharmaceuticals to track tumor extent and response to therapies. Additionally, the department's Radiation Oncology division will use highly sophisticated 3-D imaging and linear accelerator technologies to produce highly conformal treatment plans. In short, better technology means better research and better medical outcomes.

"The Chili's Care Center is a significant part of our long-term strategy to translate basic research at St. Jude into the most advanced and effective care of patients," said William E. Evans, Pharm.D., the director and CEO of St. Jude. "Integrating patient care and research holds the key to more rapid advances in science and medicine. This new facility will help us maintain our leadership role in defining the forefront of research to advance the treatment of children with cancer and other catastrophic pediatric diseases."

In addition to Chili's plan to donate $50 million over 10 years for the construction of the building, other fundraising partners and individual donors are making major contributions. Delta Delta Delta Fraternity, also known as Tri Delta, is raising $10 million in 10 years to fund the patient care floor that provides 18 new inpatient rooms and allows the hospital to sustain expected growth rates foreseen over the next five years. Tri Delta is a national women's fraternity that engages its members for life through timeless values, meaningful friendships and innovative opportunities for growth. The Wall Street Committee, which is comprised of individuals from Wall Street's top institutions, is raising $7.5 million in 3 years to fund the floor that will house the lab of Robert Webster, Ph.D., a world renowned expert in animal flu viruses. Dr. Webster has spent his career tracking the influenza virus, particularly how it jumps from animals to humans.

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. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit

Chili's Grill & Bar is the flagship brand of Dallas-based Brinker International (NYSE: EAT), a recognized leader in casual dining. Chili's offers a fun, energetic atmosphere and a distinct, fresh mix of grilled American favorites at more than 1,300 locations in 24 countries. Other Brinker brands include Romano's Macaroni Grill(R), Maggiano's Little Italy(R) and On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina(R). For more information, please visit

SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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