Patients and families at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital often talk about the life-long bond they have with the facility.
For one man, that rings true more and more each and every day.
Enrique is an ALSAC Employee and St. Jude Dad. He says, “We found out my daughter had a brain tumor.”
Enrique’s connection to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital begins in August of 2009.
While in the Navy, his daughter Arianna was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer, ATRT (Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor).
Enrique says, “The Navy sent us to San Antonio where she had her initial surgery. She had just turned 3 and the hospital told us she would never turn 4.”
He and his wife did what any parent would do: researched all of their options, which led them to St. Jude.
Immediately, they noticed something different about this hospital amid the harsh realities of a childhood cancer diagnosis.
Enrique recalls, “Why are these people so happy, you know? Because, you know, once the protocol starts, and once the kids get into treatment, you know, that sense of hope just comes in. And you start realizing that things are going to get better.”
31 radiation treatments, 4 high-dose chemotherapy treatments, and 8 months later, Arianna was cancer free.
But in 2011, their world was turned upside down once again: Arianna had cancer for a second time.
“With her type of cancer, typically after a relapse it means that there’s a genetic disposition, and that she can’t fight that disease off,” explains Enrique.
She succumbed to the illness in 2014, but her parents are still thankful for the extra time they got to spend with their daughter thanks to St. Jude.
Enrique says, “We got 5 years we wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. We truly believe that had we not come here, my daughter may have not seen 4, or 5, but instead she got to be almost 8.”
Enrique is so thankful for the care Arianna received at St. Jude that he now works as an ALSAC employee, which is the fundraising and awareness component of the hospital.
He says, “This is truly the only place I feel here walking by my side. You know, even though she passed away in the hospital, there’s just so many good memories that we have here that outweigh that.”
St. Jude gave him more years with his daughter than he could ever imagine, and now he has a life-long connection to the hospital. “As crazy as it sounds,” he says, “I don’t think I could ever leave Memphis now, just because I feel so connected to the hospital.”
The Southwest Missouri Dream Home Giveaway benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, supporting patients and families like Enrique and his daughter Arianna.
Reserve your ticket by Friday, May 3rd and you will also be eligible to win an ultimate home accessories package, valued at $10,000.
That includes a storm shelter and natural gas grill, courtesy of Atlas Safe Rooms and Spire, Inc.
Reserve your $100 ticket today for the estimated $275,000 home.
Open houses continue this weekend — Saturday from 9 to 5 pm, and Sunday from 12 to 5 pm.
The home will then be given away May 22nd, live on air.
You can also reserve your ticket to win the home by calling 1-800-303-4413.