Tayde Cruz Dodds tries every day to give back some of what St. Jude gave to her.
For the past eight years, Dodds has worked for the hospital helping with projects like the Dream Home.
When only a 7-year-old girl and while living in Mexico with her family, Dodds was diagnosed with the most common form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted her a wish through their organization. She wanted to meet Pope John Paul II.
MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC-TV) - Thousands of success stories that tell of life and hope come out of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. A former St. Jude patient turned her success story into inspiration for others as she tries to give back some of what St. Jude gave to her.
"Well, St. Jude gave me my life back. I have no way to repay St. Jude what they have done for me," said Tayde Cruz Dodds.
For the past eight years, Dodds has worked for the hospital helping with projects like the Dream Home. She helps with raising money to allow St. Jude to continue its mission of finding cancer cures for sick kids.
When only a 7-year-old girl and while living in Mexico with her family, Dodds was diagnosed with the most common form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A family friend told them about St. Jude.
"I was here the day after that. I meant it was just something that my parents wouldn't wait, you know. I was the only child, so they wanted me to be in the best place," said Dodds.
After two years of treatment in Memphis, Dodds returned home to Mexico – but then the cancer was back.
"That was very, very hard for me. And I wanted to be a mermaid when I was little, and I had to loose my hair. And this time around at the age of 12, I just wanted to be a normal girl. I wanted, you know, you're at the age of developing. You want to look pretty, and you want to do your nails, and you want to use makeup," said Dodds.
This time, doctors found the cancer to be more aggressive, and her treatment at St. Jude was rougher because it was high risk leukemia. The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted her a wish through their organization. She wanted to meet Pope John Paul II.
"He told me everything would be ok. And he said a prayer for my family and for the children of St. Jude, because I asked him to," said Dodds.
Even though, Dodds was tired and because of the chemotherapy she had lost her hair more times than she could count – with St. Jude's help she kept fighting.
"I mean the staff at St. Jude, they would do a circus in front of me for me to smile. They would bring me anything I wanted from anywhere just for me to eat something. They were amazing. They really were amazing," said Dodds.
After more grueling treatment, Dodds finally heard the words she longed to hear for many years – "You're in remission and no more chemo."
She gives all the credit to the doctors, nurses, and staff at St. Jude along with her faith.
"There is always hope. There's a place that miracles happen. There's a place that miracles happen every day. My mom calls St. Jude a little piece of heaven on Earth, because it's full of angels, and it's full of people who care," she said.
Now, Dodds works with the St. Jude's patient outreach team and is a bilingual liaison for Spanish-speaking families at St. Jude.
No family ever pays a dime for treatment at the hospital.
You can help continue the good deeds at St. Jude by purchasing a ticket for the Dream Home giveaway. For more information call 1-800-224-6681.
You can also get tickets online or at any Regions Bank, Ashley Furniture Homestore, or Stash. Tickets are only $100-dollars, and all of the proceeds go to finding cures and providing treatment for kids at St. Jude.