CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- When St. Jude Children's Research Hospital opened its doors the childhood cancer survival rate was just 20 percent. Fifty years later it's now more than 80 percent.

Donations help fund groundbreaking research to find treatments and cures to catastrophic childhood diseases.

In our ongoing series, "Stories of Hope", we introduce you to a local hair stylist who is one of St. Jude's first long-term survivors.

Bridget Davis is grateful for the opportunity to own her own business.  She is a childhood cancer survivor. At just 9 years old she was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer.  Her surgeon didn't think she would survive.

"He patted my mom on the head after a 13 hour surgery and said ‘there's no hope'," said Davis.

Bridget's doctor recommended she go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

"St. Jude was only ten years old so, they were actually surprised at this cancer as well because it's so rare, they had not seen it before," Bridget remembers.

Bridget and her mom stayed in Memphis for a year while she underwent intensive radiation therapy.  "What our insurance didn't cover, we never got a bill.  It was just a blessing."

Fundraisers, like the St. Jude Dream Home, make that possible.  No family ever pays for treatment, food, travel or lodging expenses.  

St. Jude founder Danny Thomas wanted families to receive top-notch care but not have to worry about how to pay for it.

For just $100 you can buy a ticket for a chance to win this year's St. Jude Dream Home and make a big difference in the lives of children across the Tennessee valley and the world.

Bridget Davis knows first-hand the difference your donation can make. "I just don't think they realize until you go through it how it affects your life."

She continues to support St. Jude, donating a portion of her hair salon's proceeds.   

She hopes her story of survival inspires others to help St. Jude continue its mission. "I would encourage everyone to send in, even if it's $5 or $10, anything extra they have, to St. Jude because they are truly doing a wonderful thing."