BY LAURA LIERA Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Out of 34 St. Jude Dream Homes built last year across the country, Bakersfield was No. 2 on the list of most sold tickets in a community.
For the past 10 years, Bakersfield has been home to a St. Jude Giveaway home and has raised more than $11 million, according to Lynette Hizon, senior event marketing representative for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway information:
* $100 per ticket
* Call 1-800-385-9134 or visit any Kern Schools Federal Credit Union branch for tickets.
* The house will be open for tours every weekend from May 11 to June 16: Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.
* Address: 14604 Henderson, Bakersfield, 93314.
* Winner will be drawn June 23 on KERO ABC 23. Winner can accept the home or take $150,000 in cash instead. Other prizes will also be raffled.
* For more information, visit www.stjude.org/dhbakersfield.
It costs about $1.8 million daily to run St. Jude Hospital, which provides free treatment for patients. Donations made to the hospital cover the list of services the hospital provides to the families every day.
"I am very proud of the community in Bakersfield because they are raising a lot of money for the children and families at St. Jude that need all the support they can get," Hizon said.
All proceeds from St. Jude Homes across the U.S. are sent directly to the hospital and are used for research and treatment for children.
For the past 10 years, Lenox Homes of Bakersfield has been the local homebuilder. David Cates, president of Lenox Homes, first became involved with the project when another business couldn't finish a house in time.
"We had 60 days to build the house and we finished it in 52 days," Cates said. "We didn't really know the whole story when we started but once we finished that first home, and we learned about St. Jude, we knew we wanted to be a part of it."
Every year after the house winner is announced, Cates and a St. Jude marketing team drive around Bakersfield to look for empty lots to plan construction for the following year. This year's lot is in the Tallagada community in northwest Bakersfield.
The home is 30 to 35 days away from completion. The estimated value of the home is $500,000 and it has four bedroom, three-and-a-half baths, a kitchen with island bar, exterior courtyard with fireplace and a detached casita with a half bath.
The cause is important because residents are helping children who are battling catastrophic diseases, said Hizon.
"A lot of the past winners don't buy tickets to win homes," she said. "Most never believe they are going to win but take part in it because they want to be a part of a great cause of helping children."