LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For twelve years, Target House in Memphis has been a home away from home for patients and their families facing long term stays for treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
It is a cozy living space where the family can nurture each other while their child undergoes treatment. There is no charge for this important part of the healing process. Your stay at the Target House is free. For one Louisville family facing a diagnosis of childhood cancer, Target House was just what the doctor ordered while they were so far away from family and friends.
Angie Sullivan recalls September 21, 2010. She can still remember the exact words the doctor told her, "I'll never forget his words. He said, it's not good. You just think about all the different things you've ever heard about the word cancer, " she explains.
Joey's thoughts turn to his mom. He quietly tells me "It's been pretty hard on my mom."
Joey Sullivan's fight against cancer has been hard for both him and his mother. The 8th grader will be the first to admit he was not prepared for this battle.
He told me, "Hmm..no I thought it was going to be easier."
It has been anything but easy. Not only has he had to battle cancer, but he also contracted fungal meningitis....followed by a stroke. Instead of going to school to learn algebra, English or how to shoot a jump shot in gym, Joey had to re-learn everything he learned as a toddler.
"Walking, using the restroom, talking, blinking, swallowing, eating, drinking...all that kind of stuff," he list of the top of his head. All the things many of us take for granted.
His mother explains, "He's not able to walk right now. So when we go out and his friends are out running around, he can't run around with them."
With that declaration, Joey's quiet composure turns to tears. I did not know he could not walk. When I entered the room he was sitting on the couch. I thought nothing of it. Joey thinks about it. The fact he can't run with his friends may hurt Joey more than all the chemo, cutting, poking and prodding he's had to endure. To ease the pain...Angie is keeping him busy and keeping him connected to his friends and classmates at St. Stephen Martyr school.
"You know they're all having to do service hours and it's difficult for Joey because he's in and out of the hospital so frequently. So we decided on this project," she says as they both smile.
The project is the blessing that brought us together. Joey is helping the people that helped him and his mother when they were so far away from home at St. Jude children's hospital in Memphis. The Target House gave them everything they needed.....for free.
"We were going thru a hard time then. They really gave me a home. A place to call home," Joey says passionately so I would understand.
His Mom list her own reasons, "They do everything they can to make you feel at home. To make you feel safe. To make you feel loved. To take every burden away from you except for the one you have to deal with and that's getting your child better."
Joey's fight is not over. He must continue his chemo at Kosair Children's Hospital, but he is still so grateful to the folks who gave him a home away from home. When I heard his plea for help I couldn't say no. I hope you can't either.
"We need more help with this. I think we're doing pretty good but right now we need a little more help," Joey says to close the deal.
I'm sold. I'm hoping anyone and everyone who is able and willing can donate at least one item to The Target House. Pick something from their "Wish List" so we can help "Joey's" wish come true.
"I want to collect as much as I can," he says with a smile as I promise him I will be back !!!
All items must be NEW. We will continue to collect donated items up until November 22. You can drop them off at WAVE 3....725 South Floyd Street. You can also drop items off at St. Stephen Martyr School... 2931 Pindell Ave.
Crayola Model Magic
Pre-packaged Craft kits
Scrap Book Supplies
Wood Painting Crafts
Paint by Number
Dining Room Needs
Plastic forks, spoons, knives
16 oz. plastic cups
paper plates (large/small)
disposable table cloths