Patient receives support from his 'St. Jude family' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Patient receives support from his 'St. Jude family'

Lukas Etchison is receiving treatment at St. Jude because his type of cancer is typically seen in younger children. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Lukas Etchison is receiving treatment at St. Jude because his type of cancer is typically seen in younger children. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

This year's St. Jude Dream Home fundraiser is bigger and better than ever, and it's time to reserve your ticket.

Tuesday, the Peabody Duckmaster reserved the first ticket for the fundraiser and entered the contest to win a home built by Southern Serenity valued at $450,000.

Although it costs $2 million per day to operate St. Jude Children's Hospital, the facility is changing the lives of patients whose families never receive a bill for treatment.

Lukas Etchison is one such patient. Etchison, from Muskogee, Oklahoma, missing his cows more than anything.

"I got a few," said Etchison. "It's a few to me compared to how many I'd like to have."

Etchison says he was busy working at his dad's electric company, the local stockyards, and the fire department.

"I had just gotten hired on at the fire department in Muskogee," Etchison recalled. "I worked four shifts and then this."

What Etchison thought were headaches turned out to be caused by a baseball-sized brain tumor, which spread to his face and down his spine.

Although St. Jude typically only treats kids up to 18-years-old, 22-year-old Etchison's type of cancer is usually found in a much younger child. That's why he's here, where doctors and researchers are experts on childhood cancer.

"I said, 'You know, Mom and Dad, if it does go south, I think that's the right place. You guys did good.'"

Though Etchison has lost most of his appetite after brain surgery and arduous treatment, he hasn't lost something precious -- his humor.

Etchison says his journey has been tough, but he's maintained a brave face for his family and friends.

"My sister and cousins will text me and ask, 'How you feeling?'" said Etchison. "I'll tell them I feel good everyday, even though I don't. But I tell myself I do."

Etchison says he's ready to be back home for good, but his family at St. Jude keeps his spirits up too, every time he walks through the door.

"Seeing everyone smiling, you know why everyone's there, but everyone seems so happy there," Etchison explained. "It's hard not to have a good attitude."

Get your tickets now by calling 1-(800)-224-6681 or visiting https://www.stjude.org/dhmemphis.

People who reserve their ticket before Friday, March 27, have a chance to win $2,500 in gas from Circle K.

The winner of the St. Jude Dream Home will be drawn in the WMC Action News 5 studios on Sunday, June 28.

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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