Elise Mencacci, 9, has been in remission for three years after bring diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis at 3 years old.

Erath family gives back to St. Jude patients during Christmas season

ERATH - Elise Mencacci is a local 9-year-old who was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis at the young age of 3.
She received two years of Chemotherapy treatment at the St. Jude Affiliate Clinic in Baton Rouge and has been in remission for three years now.
Erath Jr. Beta and Beta Clubs have helped her celebrate each year by choosing St. Jude as their charity. This year marks the third year that the Erath native, with her parents Taylor and Amy Mencacci, bring smiles to St. Jude patients. During the month of December, Elise and her family gather all toys and items collected by the Beta Clubs and deliver them to St. Jude where the staff welcomes the donations.
Amy says that the toys are sorted and given to the patients of St. Jude for the Christmas season. “Elise knows first-hand how special and uplifting these gifts can be, and hopes to continue this tradition for years to come.”
“Our personal goal is to make this toy drive bigger and better every single year,” Amy says “Last year alone, we were able to deliver an entire U-Haul truck full of toys to the Baton Rouge center.”
Amy Mencacci says that she and her family want to thank Tammy Comeaux for being their rock. “She is someone who helped our family with fundraising, getting the community involved and supporting our family in many ways since Elise’s’ diagnosis six years ago. She has been a godsend.”
Just last year, the family was able to collect a U-Haul truck full of toys for the patients at the hospital. “This year, it wasn’t as much, but it was still a lot,” Mencacci says “The community we have is so very amazing, it just touches your heart in so many ways,” she says.
Mencacci says that everything you see on television about St. Jude is right. “Our experience was so pleasant at a time that was so heartbreaking.” She adds that all of those brave children fighting the fight really do smile all of the time. “It’s so beautiful.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was officially opened on February 4, 1962, with the unveiling of the statue of St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, after a young Danny Thomas sought guidance from St. Jude Thaddeus, unsure of his life’s direction.
It was then that Danny vowed to build a shrine in his name if the saint would point to the path he should take. Success followed Danny’s plea and soon after, the legendary entertainer set about fulfilling his vow to St. Jude. The research hospital was the result.
St. Jude has spent more than half a century finding cures and saving children, and their groundbreaking research has helped push the survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20% in 1962 to more than 80% today.
There are several different ways you could help in funding the search for a cure. You could Shop the St. Jude gift shop, become a monthly donor, dedicate a brick, or like Elise, organize a roundup of toys and donations to deliver to the nearest center.
Elise Mencacci enjoys giving back to the organization that helped her win her battle and making it as comfortable as possible while doing so. Zero families receive a bill for their services provided by St. Jude; this includes treatment, travel, housing, and food.
Unlike other hospitals, the majority of funding for St. Jude comes from generous donors. Eighty-two cents of every dollar received from donations, research grants, insurance recoveries, and investment returns goes to support the current and future needs of St. Jude. Donors can trust that their giving has helped save the lives of thousands of children.
“No child should die in the dawn of life.”
Danny Thomas, founder

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