On October 11, Siteman Kids at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis installed a whole new type of billboard along Interstate 44. This towering message grabs not only drivers’ eyes but their ears as well by including a 12-foot-tall metal bell that “rings” when a child ends their last day of chemotherapy.
Bell-ringing for the last day of chemo has been a Children’s Hospital tradition for years, but now a whole new audience can join in this celebration of life and victory.
Now, every time a bell rings at the outpatient clinic, inpatient 9th floor, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Specialty Care Center or radiation oncology clinic, the big billboard bell 10 miles away also rings out for the whole interstate to hear. This is all achieved through an app that allows Children’s staff members to control the big bell through their smartphones.
The hospital says 5 to 10 children per month ring the bell.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital is one of the top-ranking children’s hospitals in the United States. They treat over 270,000 patients per year, each with their own inspiring stories.
One such story is that of Jackson Steinkuehler, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013 when he was 2 years old. In 2014, Jackson’s parents, Rob and Kellie, held a charity event to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest soccer match. The three-day-long game raised $43,000 for pediatric cancer research but his parents are determined to raise twice as much.
“Christmas 2014 was a particularly happy time for us,” Kellie said on the Children’s Hospital website. “Our Jackson is back to being the happy little guy we knew before he was diagnosed, and Children’s Hospital is the reason for that.”
This new billboard celebrates victory for Jackson and children like him. It reads “Childhood wins another round against cancer.”
If you want to visit the billboard for yourself, it’s right off of Big Bend Boulevard in St. Louis. Although, given the bell attached to it, perhaps “Big Ben” Boulevard would have been more appropriate.