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Meet the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Some 1,300 miles from the beaches of Honduras is the soothing sound of water in the garden at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. It's a reminder of a little piece of home for 9-year-old David Campbell.
“We actually lived right along the water with a small beach area, so he was in the water a lot,” said David’s grandfather, Tom Campbell.
Like any child, David loved to play with friends in the sun. But in 2015, David’s mother noticed something just wasn’t right with him.
“He was just a little subdued and not quite as vibrant as usual,” said Campbell. “She picked up on it better than I did.”
A routine checkup, turned into news that would change their world. Campbell said the doctor told them David had A.L.L., or acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cancer is a six letter word that no family wants to hear, but is something that connects families from around the world. Like David’s family, or the family of 17-year-old Chandler Howard.
Chandler’s mother, Cindy, said he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, the most common form of childhood malignant brain cancer. The family was living in Virginia at the time of Chandler’s diagnosis.
“I was training for a half marathon, and Chandler was getting ready for exams, end of school year exams,” said Howard. “Life was going on, and then you have something like this dropped in your lap, and it’s a shock.”
Today, Memphis is home to Chandler’s family and many other families. Whether it’s for a few months or for a few years, St. Jude becomes their sanctuary.
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“As soon as you walk in, this is a happy place,” said Howard. “You would expect there to be some sadness and a gray cloud over the hospital, but there’s not. There’s always something happening. Something always fun.”
The families who get treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital never have to pay one bill for treatment, housing, food or transportation. It is all thanks to generous donors and the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway campaign.
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“They performed a miracle,” said Campbell. “His doctors have since told me it’s the highest white blood count he’s ever seen, and they weren’t confident he would survive.”
David continues to beat the odds, and so does Chandler. David’s grandfather said he has expressed interest in one day becoming a doctor and returning to St. Jude.
Like many parents, Cindy Howard said she wants her son to shoot for the stars.
“Whatever he wants to achieve in life, I want him to be able to do that,” said Howard. “I don’t want anything to hold him back.”
You can help these children and so many other to achieve their dreams by purchasing a St. Jude Dream Home ticket.
For a $100 ticket, you can win a Balfanz Home being built in Berkshire Ranch in Bakersfield, along with other great prizes.
You can get your ticket by calling (800) 385-9134 or visit any Kern Schools Federal Credit Union branch. The home will be given away on May 11.