CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - For a second year, WBTV is teaming up with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to give away a custom built home, valued at $450,000. It was HUGELY popular when we first did the giveaway last year. All 8,000 tickets to win the home sold out – in 37 days!
This year 10,000 tickets at $100 a piece are available until they sell out. That means $1,000,000 million dollars could be raised to help kids fighting pediatric cancer at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. They're groundbreaking research and treatments are shared with doctors across the Carolinas and around the world and with the money raised, they're hoping to increase the survival rate for childhood cancer to 90% in the next decade.
Getting to visit St. Jude hospital in Memphis, TN is an amazing experience. My photographer and I were there in April where we got to hear firsthand how the hospital is helping children.
Parents like Marisa, whose seven-year-old son, Leland, has a rare cancer called ATRT at the center of his brain. Doctors at their local hospital told her they didn't think they could successfully operate on the tumor in Leland's brain. So, she went to St. Jude.
She told me when they arrived to St. Jude , "We went from absolutely no hope, and me thinking I was going to bury my son in the next few months, to having all the hope in the world now."
Leland will still spend several more months at St. Jude getting chemo and radiation.
I had the chance to also meet a family during the kickoff of our Dream Home ticket sell-a-thon today at WBTV. The Bucciero's lost their first son Carter to a rare cancer. He was diagnosed at just 2 ½ years old and fought for 10 months at St. Jude.
There's another story I want to share. Yes, in doing so, I hope it will encourage you to get involved and get in on a ticket to win the St. Jude Dream Home. But also I hope you'll see St. Jude Dream Home is more than just a pretty house.
This post is from this year's St. Jude Dream Home builder Jeff Newton of Newton Custom Homes & Realty. He included a picture of his children in his FB post which as you read further you'll see why:
"Why St. Jude?
As the builder of the St. Jude Dream Home, I realize that over the last several months and, especially the last several weeks, I have bombarded FB with posts about the Home. Hopefully I haven't overdone it to a point where you just scroll on by, but I'm just so passionate about this cause. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked.
Early in 1995 life was great. Shelley and I had just had our third child and we were enjoying our perfect little family. But all that changed in an
instant. One morning in April, while swinging in her baby swing, our youngest daughter Emily had a grand mal seizure. Our life would never be the same.
I know what it's like being in a hospital with your child, helpless. I know what it's like to have a child who has an illness that has no cure. I know what it's like to face the financial hardships that accompany traveling all over the country trying to find answers. So, if I have the opportunity to do something that may prevent another family from going through what we've been through for the last 21 years, I'm all in.
As you may know, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital treats kids with cancer and other rare diseases. Patients at St. Jude never receive a bill. In fact all travel, lodging, treatment, medication, follow-ups, everything is covered. What a huge burden lifted.
But even more importantly, St. Jude leads the world in life saving research. Since St. Jude opened, childhood cancer survival rates have risen from 20% to 80%. They have a goal to get that to 90% in the next decade.
Think about that. Ten years from now 10% more kids with cancer will live than will live today. Imagine yourself as one of those parents or grandparents today whose child got that rare cancer ten years too early and didn't make it. Every day, I think about what might have been with Emily if they had known in 1995 what they know now about her disease. Maybe things would be different for her now.
Think about this. What would you do TODAY if you knew that ten years from now your child, grandchild or any child close to you would be diagnosed with cancer. I think about that often. There's nothing I wouldn't have given to epilepsy research in 1985 if I had known what was going to happen in 1995.
Raffle tickets go on sale TODAY for the St. Jude Dream Home. They are $100 each. With the purchase of a ticket you could win a $450,000 house.......and save a child's life.
Tickets available at www.dreamhome.org or 1-800-592-1602."