CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Each year St. Jude Dream Home Builder Jeff Newton has children help decorate the home’s 2x4′s with messages of hope for the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the future winner of the dream home.
The sticks are then used to frame the home and remain a part of the homes “bones” forever.
This year, students at Metrolina Christian Academy helped write those messages, and they took on extra meaning for everyone involved.
“At Metrolina, we’re about making sure that our students understand that they don’t live just for themselves,” said JC Konecny, the Communication Arts Teacher for K-5th grade.
That is why Konecny felt like having the students write messages of love and hope on 2x4′s for the dream home was a perfect fit.
“I’ve been surprised for their young age how they grasp what’s going on and the natural words of encouragement that they have,” added Konecny.
It’s encouragement that hits home for Konecny who just recently met Dream Home Builder Jeff Newton. She says while talking they learned they had mutual friends.
“I said that I had a friend whose child is at St. Jude, and he looked at me and said, ‘From Charlotte?’” said Konecny. She continued, “I said, ‘Yes,’ and he said, ‘A Little boy?’, and I said ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Jennings?’, and we both just stopped in the woods, where we were walking and started crying.”
Konecny is friends with Jennings’ mom. You may recall Newton is dedicating this year’s home to 5-year-old Jennings who is battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia for the second time.
“Then I found out that she was the art teacher here at Metrolina Christian, and I told her about our 2x4 event, and she jumped on and said we’d love to help,” said Newton.
But neither of them could have planned what would be happening for Jennings at the same time students were writing those messages of hope.
“He’s just been prepped for transplant and today is day zero for him,” said Konecny, referencing Jennings’ impending bone marrow transplant. “It’s a very critical day.”
So the students didn’t just write messages, they prayed.
“Lord, we thank You so much for Your love for us. We thank you that you are the Great Physician and that You’re holding Jennings right now, Lord,” said one of the teachers at Metrolina as she started the prayer. She continued in part, “You have a plan for his life, and we thank You that we can have a part in it today because we commit his life to You. We pray that you would touch him and heal him in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
It was a prayer said in a moment, but that will be heard forever inside the walls of a home built with the purpose of finding a cure for pediatric cancer.
Konecny says now that Jennings’ second bone marrow transplant is complete, the next phase of his treatment process is critical. Jennings will remain isolated as doctors wait to see if the transplant helps to put his leukemia back into remission.
Newton tells us the decorated 2x4′s are now up in the home, and his team hopes to have the home completely framed by next week.