MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Construction of the 2017 St. Jude Dream Home, a 3-bedroom, 3.5 bath home in Rossville, Tennessee, is nearly complete.
The house is approximately 3,000 square feet and features an executive kitchen with a walk-in pantry, an oversized laundry area, and a master suite with a salon bath and double walk-in closets.
St. Jude's Dream Home Giveaway is a huge part of St. Jude's annual fundraising effort. By reserving a $100 raffle ticket, you have a chance to win the home and all proceeds benefit the children at St. Jude.
Bryce is one of the children who is able to receive treatment at St. Jude thanks to the donations made by people like you.
"We were sitting at home on the couch I remember you know the sun was shining through the living room we were just sitting there holding our son," Bryce's mom, Adrienne, said. "I felt blessed. I was relieved everything went smoothly as possible no real hiccups during the pregnancy. And we'd been praying for a son so things were really just falling into place."
After the family returned home from the hospital, a woman in white scrubs came to their door with news.
"She asked us to sit down and she let us know our son was diagnosed with sickle cell disease. I started preparing for the worst. I remember being afraid to you know get close to my son and it's just like our world stopped because I felt so hopeless in that moment. That day I'll never forget. The very next day I got a call from St. Jude," Adrienne said.
"What we do with the patient is give an overview of sickle cell disease," Department of Hematology physician assistant Nathan Gray said. "That it is a chronic condition that affects hemoglobin. This abnormal hemoglobin transforms the shape of the cells from a healthy round disc or doughnut shape to a sickle or crescent moon shape. We want to make sure that parents know that this is something that their children will not grow out of this is a very serious condition that truly does affect every part of the body and everything about their life. Sickle cells don't flow through blood vessels as easily as healthy red blood cells the most common and well known complication of sickle cell is pain the pain. Ultimately is due to tissue damage because tissues are unable to get oxygen when the sickle cells clump in the circulation. Many patients will describe it as the worst pain they felt. Generally the pain can be devastating especially if it is very frequent or severe."
Despite having a lot of questions and being afraid to travel, because of St. Jude's treatments, Bryce is now able to go six months without a visit to the hospital.
"Sometimes he would start crying, start getting a fever. When you get a cold or anything like that he couldn't fight off," Bryce's father, Bruce, said.
"We were afraid to travel, afraid to go visit grandmother, family, and friends, because we were so afraid of being out of town at the wrong time. But, St. Jude did a great job of educating us on what the journey would look like and to be able to just get my son here and not think about how we will pay for it just takes so much weight off of my family. St. Jude allowed me to focus on being a mom to Bryce and to understand that he will receive quality care," Adrienne said.
"There is hope for the future and there is hope in the management of sickle cell disease. Currently, we are investigating alternative treatment options including gene therapy and the hope is that in the future we may even be able to essentially remove the sickle gene and replace it with healthy DNA. That would be a cure it is a process so until that happens we are really just doing our best to help manage any complications that may occur. Hydroxyarhea has been shown to help reduce the frequency or severity of pain crises," Gray said.
"When we began hydroxyarhea I began to see my son's personality. He laughed and he played and he was just everything a little boy should and could be. Well, today in our clinical visit we received some news. Bryce's numbers were exceptionally well. We started out coming in every two weeks and now we can actually go about every six months. From the beginning, I thought it was a death sentence and now through St. Jude I understand the seriousness of it, but I'm not in such a fearful place. You can live and you can have more good days than bad days with sickle cell disease. I really believe in Bryce's lifetime will see a cure," Adrienne said.
"There's always hope you know because this is a research hospital and they always trying to find a cure," Bruce said.
"I'm just so glad they are committed to finding cures and just taking care of our patients. We've been so blessed so fortunate. It's just nice looking at my son seeing him grow and develop. He understands his condition so if you asked Bryce, Bryce will say I have sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease does not have me," Adrienne said.