HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The generosity of South Mississippians has inspired the folks at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to dream big. Tickets for the St. Jude Dream home went on sale Thursday. For this year's giveaway, officials are making 1,000 more tickets available than last year. Even in a down economy, St. Jude officials are so optimistic they'll sell out once again.
Karen Sock said it was a privilege to buy the first two tickets for the 2012 St. Jude Dream home. She is the General Manager at Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi.
"Children are innocent and they need our support,"said Sock. "As adults and leaders in our community, members of our community, I believe we have a responsibility to support these types of causes. St. Jude is certainly one that we would have to all agree has done a magnificent job over the years and we're proud to be apart of this. "
The lucky winner will end up with the 3,269 foot home now under construction at The Village at Tradition in Harrison County. The house is valued at $415,000 and features four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, screened in porches, and a view of a lake.
The money raised from each $100 ticket will help children suffering from cancer and other catastrophic diseases by paying for medical treatment as well as travel and housing expenses for their families during their stay in Memphis. Officials said no child is ever turned away because of an inability for families to pay.
Lindsay Sambecki of St. Jude said, "Just coming in there and not having to worry about anything. You're just coming there and being able to focus completely on the well being of your child and them being healthy again."
South Mississippi's past Dream Home giveaways have been so successful, St. Jude raised this year's ticket goal by 1,000.
"Last year we had a cycle of 6,500 tickets. We sold out literally within 18 minutes of the live giveaway," said Sambecki. "It was incredible and people were calling in to give donations to give to St. Jude, which is an incredible feeling. So we knew by raising the goal by 1,000 that it was a realistic goal. Even with the economy, people are still so giving and they want to support the mission of St. Jude."
You will be able to tour the St. Jude Dream Home starting May 5th. Then watch the reveal of the big winner live on WLOX June 17. Other prizes include a New Orleans Saints Experience weekend with two night hotel stay and two tickets to a Saints game, a seven night stay in a two bedroom Alabama condo, and $1,000 shopping spree at Edgewater Mall among other prizes.
You can buy your ticket by visiting the St. Jude website (http://bit.ly/zfLPYF) or by calling 800-206-2013.