Philanthropist Jared Isaacman and his team Polaris Dawn help sick Ukrainian children through a network coordinated by St. Jude
The team provides Starlink technology to Poland, enabling global partners to communicate, helping to get children with cancer to safety and treatment.
An alliance of global partners, coordinated by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC, its fundraising and outreach organization, has moved hundreds of Ukrainian children with cancer to Poland where they are being triaged and transferred to hospitals in Europe and beyond.
But inside this triage center, a converted hotel known as the Unicorn Center, doctors and other medical staff have been hampered by a lingering problem: unreliable internet service, making communication between partner organizations difficult. , or even impossible. It also prevented Ukrainian refugees hosted at the center from communicating with their relatives back home.
Within days, this issue was resolved through the efforts of Jared Isaacman, Commander of Inspiration4, with the story making all-civilian spaceflights last year that benefited St. Jude. He is now commander of Polaris Dawn, a series of SpaceX missions.
The Polaris Dawn team coordinated the donation of a SpaceX Starlink, a device that delivers high-speed internet through advanced satellites in low orbit. He and 4,000 pounds of medical supplies were airlifted to Poland on March 5 by Isaacman.
Isaacman is an ALSAC partner who, along with his wife, Monica, generously donated to St. Jude for the new, state-of-the-art Inspiration4 Advanced Research Center on the St. Jude campus in Memphis. He was also responsible for a second flight to Poland just days ago, delivering more supplies and eight more Starlink units. These units are being distributed to clinics and partner foundations across the region to further support ongoing efforts to move children with cancer from Ukraine, triage them, and then place them across Europe, and eventually to the States. States and St. Jude, for processing.
Isaacman has quietly helped numerous charitable and non-profit causes as his business, Shift4Payments, has grown in success. Very often, these charitable efforts combine his love of aviation – he is an accomplished pilot – with a commitment to meeting the intense humanitarian needs around the world. He insisted there be a charity partner for the Inspiration4 flight last year, for example, which resulted in more than $240 million in donations to St. Jude.
“If you have the ability to help, you have the responsibility to help,” Isaacman said.
Isaacman was recently named by SpaceX as commander of a series of three more spaceflights, including one that could allow him to do a spacewalk. It is expected that these missions will also benefit St. Jude.
“Jared is an incredible leader and humanitarian who deeply believes in the power of purpose and continually uses his work and resources to benefit the world,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC. “It came as no surprise to any of us that shortly after the war began, Jared reached out to ask to help St. Jude in any way possible. By routing Starlink systems in Poland and beyond, it provided essential communication in desperate times. Through Starlink, our global partner teams can continue to share vital medical information and families can stay in touch with loved ones when so many are now terribly separated.
For families in particular, it’s just the communication lifeline needed.