'We had to get her to St. Jude': Family travels 1,700 miles for revolutionary treatment

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Finding cures, saving children: that's the goal of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Families from around the world are finding St. Jude to be a home away from home during their darkest hours.

In 2016, back home in Jamaica, Azalea Bedward's family received life-changing news from doctors.

"Azalea was diagnosed with rhodamine sarcosis, that's a soft tissue tumor," said Azalea's mom Simone. "It's very rare. She was diagnosed when she was only 2 years old."

After learning more about the cancerous tumor, Simone was adamant about one thing.

"How do we get her to St Jude?" Simone said. "Because we knew it was the best place for her."

Simone said she was familiar with the life-saving work at St Jude Children's Research Hospital because several family members are charitable donors.

"When they found out that a member of the family was going to be here it was even more special to them and for us," Simone said.

St Jude Research Children's Hospital touches the lives of children all around the world. They have an international outreach program with 24 partners in 17 countries.

Additionally, nearly every new pediatric surgeon in the U.S. and Canada trains at St. Jude.

The Bedwards traveled more than 1,700 miles to Memphis for Azalea's treatment.

"The surgery that was done is the first that was ever done in the United States, so this has paved the way for so many other children," Simone said.

Azalea is now entering kindergarten as a healthy 4-year-old.

"She has had such a good journey," Simone said. "She is now officially one year off treatment so she's doing great."

Simone said the research hospital will forever be their home away from home.

"St. Jude provided a safe haven for us," Simone said. "It provided that comfort and we were able to not worry about Azalea but to keep her comfortable."

It takes more than $2 million a day to operate St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and 75 percent of that cost is covered by generous donors like you.

You can do your part to help save lives by reserving a ticket for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.

If you reserve your ticket by June 8, your name will be entered into a bonus drawing with a chance to win a 2018 Honda Civic LX or a 2018 Nissan Sentra S, courtesy of Wolfchase Honda and Wolfchase Nissan.

The bonus prize is in addition to your chance to win the Dream Home.

Tickets are $100 and can be reserved through the Dream Home link or by calling 1-800-224-6681.

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