EDMOND — Nick Goree and his fiance, Lan Tran, of Oklahoma City, received the best wedding present they could have hoped for Sunday when they won the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.
“I never thought this would actually happen,” Goree said. “This is going to be impossible to beat as a wedding present.”
The two pulled their car into the driveway at 10408 Chitwood Farms Road shortly after 4:30 p.m. and stared at the house through the windshield before even stepping foot on the pavement.
They stood in shock as they were greeted by St. Jude supporters who helped make the giveaway a reality.
Goree, 25, said the two are getting married in August. They entered the giveaway to support a good cause — raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
“It's a gorgeous house,” he said, adding the couple toured the home before the drawing and spent nearly an hour examining its features.
During a second tour of the house Sunday, Tran, 27, walked into the laundry room sporting a huge smile because of the large size of the room. She also ran around excitedly upstairs as she familiarized herself with her new house.
On an acre
Mark Lambert, of Dunhill Fine Homes, said the home is surrounded by an acre of land and has four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths and a three-vehicle garage. He said various companies pitched in materials to help build the home, which is valued at $575,000.
Lambert said it was important during the five-month building process to find a plan that would suit anyone who won the home. He said a mother-in-law suite was built into the house and also is accessible for the disabled from the driveway.
“I think it turned out really good,” Lambert said. “It's just a good cause. It's a cause I believe in.”
Winning the home meant a lot to Goree and Tran, but it also meant a lot to St. Jude supporters who raised more than $575,000 in ticket sales to help fund the hospital.
Audra Blanding, event marketing representative for St. Jude, said the daily operating cost for the hospital is $1.7 million. She said in the past five years they have been able to raise about $3 million through Dream House Giveaways.
The goal this year was to sell 7,000 tickets, but she said they fell short and sold only 5,751 tickets. Regardless, she said she's glad they were able to raise enough for the hospital.
St. Jude patient, Jaden Brunnemer, 10, was grateful for the donations, too.
She has been visiting the hospital since she was 2 years old to receive chemo and radiation therapy for a malignant extrarenal rhabdoid tumor.
Her mother, Teresa Brunnemer, 41, of Stillwater, said doctors discovered the tumor in 2004, and Jaden had to get eight rounds of chemo and 28 rounds of radiation.
“It was a total shock,” she said.
After learning about the type of tumor Jaden had, Brunnemer said her daughter was actually lucky because usually rhabdoid tumors attach to soft tissues and organs. In Jaden's case, the tumor was attached to a muscle in her neck.
Now that's she's in recovery, Jaden said she enjoys playing sports, watching the Oklahoma City Thunder and participating in 4-H activities. She said she also likes to help raise money for the hospital that helped her survive.
“(People) need to give lots of money because it takes a lot of money to run the hospital,” she said.