MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway kicked off Friday morning, one of the most important fundraisers each year for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
All proceeds go to finding cures and saving lives.
Michelle and her family have a unique history with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“My grandmother and two of my aunts were some of the first ladies of St. Jude with Danny Thomas,” she told WMC Action News 5.
Years later, in 2012, her niece was treated for pediatric melanoma at St. Jude.
Michelle never dreamed her son would be next.
“All of a sudden Tyler who was 6 at the time started feeling bad. He started falling asleep in class, arm and leg pains, extreme night sweats,” she said.
His doctor called it growing pains.
“On the night of January 31, 2013, Tyler could no longer put any weight on his arms and legs. I just picked him up and held him,” said Michelle.
By the end of the night, he was at St. Jude.
“We go through the doors, no clue what was going on, terrified beyond belief, but walking into that place I knew that we were where we needed to be. I knew we were in the best place in the world. They had just saved my niece’s life and I knew they were gonna save his,” she said.
Eventually, they learned Tyler had ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
“He was in active treatment for 2 years and 7 months. Thousands of rounds of chemo, spinal draws,” said Michelle.
A long and emotional journey, but thanks to the top-notch care and staff at St. Jude, Tyler not only survived but also thrived.
As a way to give back, Tyler took up running.
“In 2019 he crossed over the 10K line with me for St. Jude Memphis marathon weekend,” said Tyler’s mother.
He finished last year’s half-marathon in an impressive 2 hours 9 minutes.
“We do everything in our power to give back to the place that’s given us something irreplaceable,” she said.
The best way you can give back, according to Michelle, is by supporting the St. Jude Dream Home campaign.
“People don’t realize that when they but that ticket, when you make that donation, you’re helping save my son’s life, and saving the life of all the kids, because right now, a family is being told their child has cancer,” she said.