Former St. Jude patient says hospital gave her opportunity to live life she’s always wanted

Former St. Jude patient explains how hospital helped
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 5:42 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - If Maria Hultine could speak to her younger self, she would tell that little girl that her Leukemia diagnosis at 12 would not define her life.

”I was in Honduras at the time,” said Maria Hultine, St. Jude former patient, “You have the option of leaving the country or making her as comfortable as you can.”

Honduras did not offer the bone marrow transplant Maria needed. Someone connected the family with St. Jude. The rest is history.

“It gives you the opportunity to live life, to have every experience and milestone that you can have,” said Maria.

Maria laughs talking about the moment her mother tried to set up a payment plan, not realizing the housing, the treatments, everything, was completely free.

“There is a beacon of light and it is called St. Jude,” said Maria.

St. Jude fundraises year-round to make stories like Maria’s possible. Their largest fundraiser each year is called Dream Home Giveaway. For the first time since the Giveaways began in 1991, a Dream Home will be built and raffled off here in Atlanta.

“The builder and their trade partners donate or heavily discount every single thing that goes into the building of that home,” said Tiffany Roan, St Jude Georgia Area Executive Director.

Raffle tickets will be sold.

“We will be giving away a dream home to one lucky winner. We have a quantity of 15 thousand tickets that will be sold at 100 dollars a piece with the goal of raising 1.5 million dollars,” said Rosa Servin, Bilingual Development Representative for St Jude.

It sounds like a lot of money and it is, daily operating costs for St. Jude are over $1 million.

“I know exactly where your money is going to. Exactly where your money is going to,” said Maria.

The build will take about 9 months and then on Aug. 3:

“We will be giving away the home live on Atlanta News First,” said Rosa.

The whole point of all of this to make sure families never have to worry about money while their children fight for their lives.

“Going to college and having a fun time with friends and family. That is what St Jude does, they give you the opportunity to live life, whatever life you want to live,” said Maria.

Raffle tickets will go on sale in May.