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Local nurse shares her daughter’s cancer story as St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway kicks off

The St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in Palm Desert is now open for ticket sales. Call 1-800-535-6748 to reserve one. Each ticket is $100, with a limited number available.

All proceeds go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to help children fighting childhood cancer, including kids here in the Coachella Valley, like young Natalie Tanner of Palm Desert.

No mother should ever have to plan her baby's funeral months after birth, yet that's what Kristen Tanner found herself doing.

"She was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor called medulloblastoma," Tanner said. "Unfortunately for Natalie because she was so young at the time, her chances were that low because she could not have radiation."

Kristen, an orthopedic nurse at Eisenhower Health, had prepared her heart for the worst after her daughter Natalie was born with cancer. Doctors at the time said nothing more could be done. But where local hospitals said no St. Jude Children's Research hospital had said yes.

"We went from being told that we could bring Natalie home and just enjoy her and make her comfortable and live out the remaining time that our hospital felt she had we went from that prognosis to St. Jude saying you know we think we can do this," Kristen said.

Today, Natalie is 13-years-old and living her life. Jamming away on the trumpet with encouragement for other cancer fighters.

St. Jude has helped push childhood cancer survival rates from 20 percent in the 1960s to 80 percent today.

"Yes we're in the midst of a pandemic but cancer doesn't stop. And our patients and families are now facing both of those things so now more than ever now we want to make sure we don't let our foot off our gas," Emily Browne, a nurse practitioner at St. Jude.

Cancer doesn't stop for a pandemic and St. Jude fundraises so that parents don't have to deal with a single medical bill.

"Natalie's insurance was billed but anything not covered by her insurance was automatically paid for by St. Jude, that included the hospital care, the medication, food, housing was provided. It was really quite something," Kristen said.

Quite something that something as simple as buying a dream home ticket can allow kids like Natalie to live her life.

Learn More About the St. Jude Dream Home Below:

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Angela Chen

Angela comes to the Coachella Valley as KESQ’s morning anchor after teaching graduate school classes at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication. Learn more about Angela here.


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