Julie Locke Moore is founder and director of the Dax Foundation, which helps the families of patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as well as other families in need. She founded the organization in 2010 to honor her son, Dax. Dax was only 15 months old when he was diagnosed with AML M7 leukemia at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. After the chemotherapy treatments failed, Dax underwent a stem cell transplant from his mother’s stem cells.
Dax couldn’t beat the disease and returned home in mid-October to “Cherish Every Moment” that he had left. Julie decided to celebrate one last Christmas with Dax. He loved the Christmas lights on the tree and on the house and soon the neighborhood began asking why they had Christmas lights up before Halloween? As the story spread, his neighborhood and town of Washington put up Christmas lights for Dax. His story was a headline on CNN and Dax’s story captured the hearts of literally thousands of people. Dax did live to see Christmas day and passed away on December 30, 2009.
Despite her sadness, Julie knew that Dax’s story could be used to bring awareness to childhood cancer and the work of St Jude. She started The Dax Foundation with an initial goal to raise $1.6 million, the amount needed to run the hospital for one day.
In 2010, she wrote a book, “Cherish Every Moment, what I learned from Dax”. Singer and songwriter, Matthew West wrote a song about Dax called “One Last Christmas” and donated all the song’s proceeds to the Dax foundation. Their story was also turned into a movie called “The Heart of Christmas”.
Through Julie’s dedication and hard work, the foundation has raised over $3 million dollars and serves hundreds of families each year through a range of activities and initiatives. Julie has sent 150 St Jude patients and St. Jude staff to Camp Hope, a week long summer camp for children ages 5-18 who have been diagnosed with cancer or other blood disorders. The campers are allowed to participate in activities that “normal” children can while constantly being monitored by medical professionals.
Julie also serves on the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois Board of Directors. She has been instrumental in every aspect of bringing a Ronald McDonald House to Peoria since its inception. The 22-room mini suite Ronald McDonald House was opened in December of 2019 and is projected to serve 700 families a year.
She was recognized by Peoria Magazine as a 40 under 40 winner in 2019 and selected as 25 Women in Leadership Award in 2017. She also was selected as Lifetime Television Remarkable Woman of the month in 2015.
Julie is being recognized in the category of Contribution to children, world peace, and/or human rights. She lives in Washington with her husband Devin and daughter, Madeline.