2013 Dream home winner: "It's not about the house, it's about the kids"
APISON, HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB) -
Months of waiting and preparation are over. Sunday afternoon, Channel 3 teamed up with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to announce the winner of its 2013 Dream Home Giveaway.
A woman from Bledsoe County took the grand prize of a brand new $350,000 dollar home, but she said it's the children of St. Jude who are the real winners.
The giveaway for the Dream Home in Apison brought in more than $711,000 for Saint Jude's.
Ellen Breland and her husband John Henry were all smiles and almost speechless with shock as they saw their brand new dream home for the very first time.
"Really we're just still kind of in awe of like, did this really happen?" said Ellen.
Ellen didn't get to hear name called during Channel 3's live broadcast of the drawing.
"I'm at home by myself and didn't have a clue, and then my phone keeps beeping because everybody is trying to call me while I'm talking to her, and it's just crazy after that," she said.
Ellen told Channel 3 the Dream Home Giveaway is a long time tradition.
"My late mother in-law and I used to always go together and buy tickets. I miss her, I wish she were here to see it too," she said.
Her mother in-law, Henrietta Breland, died of cancer last September. The long-time St. Jude supporter gave one of her last wishes to the organization.
"She told everybody 'don't buy flowers, make a donation to St. Jude'," said John Henry.
For the Breland's, the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway is more than a contest
"It's not about what you get out of it, it's what you give. It's not about this house, it's not about anything. It's about those little kids," Ellen said.
For the past few weeks, Channel 3 has been introducing you to the local people your donated dollars have helped.
"The best thing is when their children are diagnosed, they're not hopeless and helpless. They've got somewhere to go and people to help. They don't have to worry about what it's going to cost and losing everything they own," Ellen said.
The Breland's said they're not sure what they're going to do with the home, but they'll figure it out once the shock of winning it wears off.
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis has nearly 8,000 patients each year. The hospital relies on fund raisers like the Dream Home Giveaway to pay for their treatments, and to continue life-saving research.