Today's tweens face a number of challenges in life, but for one McMinn county girl, her obstacles have been a bit more difficult.  Twelve-year-old Madison was diagnosed with a brain tumor before she turned 2 years old.  

At just 17 months old, Madison's family knew something was wrong. "Her neck was stiff, so we took her to our local hospital.", Madison's grandmother, Susan, tells us.

At first doctors thought she had meningitis, but they found out that wasn't the case. Madison was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  Susan said, "We asked that they send her records to St. Jude because we knew they were the best."

When Madison and her family arrived at St. Jude, the staff was waiting and very reassuring as they began a difficult journey. Madison went through 5 1/2 years of chemo off and on, with setbacks along the way.  After several check-ups that showed the tumor was inactive, Madison was 7-years-old when they found out the tumor was growing again. This time, St. Jude sent the family to Florida so Madison could undergo proton therapy, a specialized radiation that specifically targets the tumor and doesn't damage the healthy tissue around it.

Madison has been a St. Jude patient most of her life and her family has never had to worry about a bill thanks to fundraisers like the St. Jude Dream Home.  "That $100 may seem small to me, that's what keeps these children alive, what makes them thrive.", says Susan.  "I doubt I would be sitting here today if it weren't for them. I am really thankful I had them in my life and they helped me and my family.", explains Madison.

You can help make sure other families have the same chance when it comes to surviving pediatric cancer, by purchasing a ticket to the St. Jude Dream Home.  You can buy a ticket at the Tennessee locations of Regions Bank,
and over the phone by calling 800-750-6962.

More than half the tickets have already been sold. If you buy a ticket by this Friday, April 24th, you'll be entered into the Early Bird Drawing for a a luxurious getaway to Orlando, Florida, valued at $2,500, courtesy of Quinn's Vacation Homes and four passes to Universal Orlando Resort.

The Dream Home will be given away June 28th.   It is in the Castlegate Subdivision in East Brainerd near Publix.  The address is 8225 Knotting Wood Way.