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St. Jude Story: Meet Kathy, a 'professional hugger'

'I sort of jokingly say my role is professional hugger, professional caretaker. It’s an honor to get to walk with them every day.'

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN has thought of everything.

You can help fund the ground breaking research that is done there and hopefully save a child’s life by reserving a ticket for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.

Every single aspect of the hospital experience is thought out, starting with the person who greets you when you first arrive.

FOX26 Ten O'clock News anchor, Gia Vang, introduces us to Kathy Cox.

Kathy's official title is Guest Service Liaison for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's Center Lobby. But unofficially... "I sort of jokingly say my role is professional hugger, professional caretaker," says Kathy. "It’s an honor to get to walk with them every day I can’t cure their cancer I wish I could but I can alleviate their other needs that are overwhelming."

From the moment you get to St. Jude, you’re family.

The research hospital leads the way to try to understand, treat and cure childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

And the kicker is it takes more than $2 million a day to run the hospital, but the families of those children never get a bill.

"Until you have that mom telling you this the impact of not having to pay for food not having to pay for lodging travel, never getting a bill, never receiving a bill for the entire time they’re here. There’s no way to grasp how big that is and life changing that is for these families until you’re here and you get to walk alongside them and experience it with them."

When St. Jude opened there was only a 20 percent survival rate... now it is 80 percent and the campus just keeps growing, including a relatively new building, the Marlo Thomas Center which opened in 2014.

"We have the most incredible minds in the world working on cures," said Kathy. "Not only are they working with the families here, they are working for children all over the globe; we freely give our research all over the world.

Research that the Central Valley also takes advantage of.

Kathy admits some days at St. Jude are harder than others. "They spend a lot of time waiting in my lobby and while they wait we talk and we get to know each other," said Kathy.

One story in particular for her, a little boy. "When he did not make it I wondered if I could do this. I went home and had to kind of get myself back together. It was a tough tough day."

But there is a sense of hope as you walk the hallways of the hospital, from the patients themselves, and that is why Kathy says she comes back to work every day.

"I have kiddos running up every day, 'Miss Kathy, Miss Kathy, my scans are clear, my scans are clear'. and there is no word In the English language that tells you how my heart feels when that happens."

If you reserve a ticket for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, you can help fund some incredible ground breaking research that is used to treat rare childhood cancers shared all over the world, including right here in the Central Valley.

You can reserve a ticket for a chance to win this year’s st. Jude Dream Home.

All you have to do is call 1-800-543-5887.

One lucky person’s name will be drawn on October 28th to win that home!

Get your ticket by September 7th to be eligible to win a $10,000 Designer Shopping Spree, courtesy of The Mosings and Rogers Jewelry Co!

Your early bird ticket also makes you eligible to win the house and other amazing prizes.


FOX26 is very excited to again be the official television partner of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.

Click here to learn more about the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.


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