Destination Dream Home

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It’s impossible to go very far in the Valley without seeing a De Young Properties community or a sign for a new community underway. No doubt you’ve also seen the television commercials featuring celebrities urging you to join them in supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

What you may not know is that De Young Properties is about to give away a new home with their 11th St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway Campaign.

“The life-saving work of St. Jude is inspiring. We are all truly honored to be a St. Jude Dream Home Builder,” Paula De Young, Executive Vice President of De Young Properties, tells CVLUX about her family’s involvement in the campaign.

The last 10 years have seen De Young Properties building a St. Jude Dream Home every year, raising over 9.7 million dollars for the hospital, and they are hoping to raise 1.1 million from this year’s “Lucky Eleven” campaign alone.

“When we started doing this, we originally were going to do three (campaigns)... but after visiting the hospital, [we] just didn’t want to stop,” said Jerry De Young, CEO of De Young Properties.

Tickets are already on sale for this year’s St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway Campaign, and there will be only 11,000 tickets sold. The tickets are $100, and every penny is given to St. Jude. This year’s St. Jude Dream Home is still under construction, but it will be open to the public beginning September 30th, with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on September 28th. The winning ticket will be drawn by a local St. Jude patient on November 5th during a live T.V. show on FOX26. The public can visit the Dream Home on Saturdays and Sundays during the month of October, and all visitors are eligible to be entered into a free drawing for a $10,000 shopping spree at Mor Furniture. This year’s home is a De Young Residence 220 SmartHome located within the De Young “Holland Pointe” community, on De Wolf and Ashcroft near the Reagan Educational Center. It is 2,500 square feet with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a loft and a two-car garage. In addition, Celebrity Designer, Michael Moloney, of Emmy-Award winning show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, will be donating his time and resources to the “Michael Moloney Mystery Suite,” where he will work his television-famous magic on the master suite of the home.

Michael Moloney met the De Young Family in 2009, when they did an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project together. When Michael heard about their passion for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Dream Home Campaign, Paula says he immediately wanted to get involved. “Working with Michael is a highlight,” she says, “and he brings a really fun energy to the campaign.”

This is Michael’s second year partnering with the De Young team, and last year he and Ashley De Young, Vice President of Marketing at De Young Properties, visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital together. The rest of the family has visited the hospital on several occasions and their faces lit up as they described it.

“It’s magical,” Ashley tells CVLUX about St. Jude. “It’s not just one building; it’s a campus. Everything is positive and upbeat, and they think of everything from the child’s perspective. The television and computer screens are at child- level and the stairs are different colors and play music when you step on them.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is the only National Cancer Institute- designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children and is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Not only that, doctors and scientists world-wide have free access to the breakthroughs made at St. Jude. When the hospital opened on February 4, 1962, based on founder, Danny Thomas’ dream that “no child should die in the dawn of life,” the survival rate of childhood cancer was 20%. Today it is an incredible 80%.

“Once you’re a St. Jude patient, you’re a patient for life,” adds Paula. “Even after they are given a clean bill of health, the hospital follows each patient, ensuring that their research provides a good quality of life and the long-term results of the treatments are positive. They aren’t just trying to help these children survive; they thrive.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital may be halfway across the country from the Central Valley, but it has treated and cured some of our very own children and others benefit from the research locally. The De Young family has met most of the St. Jude patients here in the Valley, and as Brandon De Young, Executive Vice President of De Young Properties said, “It always comes back to the patients. We’ve watched local St. Jude kids that grow into these beautiful people. Then they show up and help with our annual campaign.”

There is always new hope coming from the efforts of St. Jude. When Ashley De Young and Michael Moloney toured the St. Jude Red Frog Proton Therapy Center (the only one in the world capable of treating children) last year, they were impressed. This new therapy allows doctors to precisely deliver high- energy protons to kill or shrink tumors while minimizing damage to other tissues and organs in the child’s body, which research suggest may be more effective than traditional radiation.

CVLUX asked local Campaign Chairman, Bob Whelan, why he has stayed involved with the St. Jude Dream Home Campaign here in the Valley for almost a decade. “I used to ask myself that question. I have a ‘day job’ as a Chief Deputy District Attorney, my ‘night job’ as Mayor of Clovis keeps me pretty busy and I also teach criminal law on the side,” replied Whelan. “On top of that I am a husband and father. I stopped asking myself that question, however, after I got to know some of the families in the Valley who have been helped by St. Jude, and then, when I visited the hospital.”

The De Young’s make it clear that these campaigns are a community effort. “Without the support of the community, our trade partners and volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” Brandon De Young added. There are more than 40 trades companies involved in this year’s St. Jude Dream Home, donating everything from nails to faucets. The lumber company, 84 Lumber, decided after touring St. Jude, to donate 100% of the lumber for the campaign.

De Young Properties is also heavily involved in supporting local hospitals, and their commitment to the St. Jude Dream Home Campaigns in the last decade is tireless, but each member agreed that their hard work is always worthwhile.

“We witness the community coming together. Between our trade partners donating and community members buying tickets and volunteering ... our community really needs to be thanked,” says Ryan De Young, President of De Young Properties. “Every single winner has said, ‘I bought the ticket to help the kids.’”

You can purchase tickets by calling 800-543-5887, or by visiting De Young Properties Welcome Centers, Fresno Coin Gallery and Noble Credit Unions. Starting September 30 and every weekend in October, you can tour the St. Jude Dream Home and purchase tickets. The home is located at 3340 Holland Avenue (near De Wolf and Ashcroft) in Clovis.

Managing Editor Cheryl Ensom Dack