We are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that is drastically altering millions of people's "normal." The economy is in a tailspin. We're being asked to socially distance, stay home and wear masks in public. We may--or may not--be going to work or even keep our job. Financial security is on everyone's mind and these are certainly uncertain times. Everyone is worried, concerned, frustrated, angry, heartbroken, stressed.... fill in your (_____) emotion. I understand.

This is how parents of kids admitted to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have felt long before the coronavirus. Having a child with a severe illness is one of the most difficult times a parent will ever experience. You don't know what's going to happen next. You may have to travel to a hospital far from home with bills stacking up left and right. You might have to take unpaid time off from work because you've already used all of your vacation time for previous hospital trips. You worry first about your child, followed by all of the other "normal" life worries. And if anyone has ever experienced strict hand-washing protocols, it's parents of kids in intense pediatric care. You'll never forget the scrubby nail brushes and soap that seems to scrape your skin right off.

Meet St Jude patient, Lea.

Credit: St Jude Children's Research Hospital
Credit: St Jude Children's Research Hospital

In 2013, Lea was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Her treatment in Canada, where her family lives, included chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Lea’s cancer remained in remission until October 2014, when she relapsed. Doctors in Canada referred Lea’s family to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® for her second transplant, which she underwent in 2015. Three years later, during a routine checkup at St. Jude, tests revealed Lea’s cancer had again returned, and she underwent a third bone marrow transplant. “Lea is our world,” said her mom. “St. Jude gave her a second chance and now a third chance. St. Jude is a part of us.” St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Lea, who now visits St. Jude for regular checkups, loves gymnastics and arts and crafts.

Anytime is a good time to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, but right now you've got an added incentive. Buy a $100 St. Jude's Dream House Ticket and you could win a completely renovated Billings house worth $275,000. If you purchase a ticket before May 1st you get a shot at an additional bonus prize of a $10,000 Visa gift card, courtesy of Stockman Bank.

There are only 6,800 tickets available and they will sell out. Get yours today. Thanks to donations from people like you, no parent of a child at St. Jude's ever receives a bill. The research done for childhood cancer and other diseases at St. Jude's is freely shared at no cost to hospitals and research facilities worldwide. Your donation WILL make a difference. GET DREAM HOME TICKETS HERE.

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