Cancer survivors find love at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Valentine's Day is a time to reflect on the love in our lives. For one couple, the day is reminder of how their love was made possible by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and fundraisers like the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in the Coachella Valley.
It is a love story that almost wasn't.
At the age of seven, Joel Alsup had splitting pain in his arm, so severe that he couldn't lift his hand to feed himself. Then the news came back.
"The tumor was officially diagnosed as osteosarcoma," said Joel. "I underwent about four months of chemotherapy before the decision was made to amputate my right arm."
And when she was ten years old, Lindsey Alsup found herself exhausted, unable to keep her head up in class.
"It was acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Now being ten and told that I had cancer, I was absolutely terrified," said Lindsey.
But St. Jude Children's research hospital held their hands through treatment, never sending them a bill for chemotherapy or the hospital stay or housing or food.
They met each other for the first time at a St. Jude event almost 30 years ago.
"I'm just, you know, a patient over here writing morose poetry in a corner, and he's making cancer jokes," said Lindsey. "And so it was a great balance..".
He was 13, and she was 12, becoming friends after that St. Jude event. But Joel didn't make a move until much, much later.
"Having liked this girl for more than 25 years by that point, I was like, let me skip past all the pleasantries," said Joel. "I just told her I love her. So we played the long game. It worked out."
Their love worked out, made possible because of fundraisers like the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in Palm Desert, where each $100 ticket goes toward helping kids survive.
"You talked about when you buy a dream home to get not only this opportunity to win a beautiful home, but you're also giving us the opportunity to have these beautiful life moments that so many watching have enjoyed," said Lindsey. "Whether that's a graduation from high school or college or your first job or your family -- that was what we get because of the generosity of others."
Or a wedding. The two knew that there was only one place to say their vows: at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"There's hope after cancer" said Lindsey. "It was just incredible to have that person who meant so much to me as a child get to be the person i get to spend the rest of my life with today."
Tickets are now on sale for the 4th annual St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in Palm Desert. Call (800) 535-6748 for tickets. Each ticket is $100, with only 15,000 being sold. The giveaway will be held live on air on March 22.