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St. Jude: Lela's Story

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We're going to introduce you to a little girl who just celebrated her fourth birthday all because of the life saving work going on at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Lela's parents found out she had cancer after taking a simple baby picture.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is priceless. Not because of the cute baby captured in the picture, but because of the odd light coming from her left eye. Her mom describes it as a glow.

Lela, just six weeks old had an eye tumor. It was cancer of the retina called retinoblastoma.

Dad Jeff Moody says, "At six weeks old you get the diagnosis your daughter has cancer and you have to ask questions that no parent should have to ask."

This type of cancer can be a genetic defect and in Lela's case it is.

It's a disease that put her parents in a position of deciding to remove one eye to give Lela a fighting chance. Here mom explains, "We had to grieve the loss of her eye. You know we did. For me especially, being a lady you want to feel beautiful and I'm looking at my baby and I'm like what is that going to be like for her when she's a teenager? We went back to our room and my husband said, but when we remove the eye we remove cancer and I said you're right. I can't hold onto this. I want her to be cancer free. I don't want this to be her life.

Today, you'd never know Lela has a prosthetic eye. Because of new discoveries at St. Jude and targeted therapies, doctors simply zapped two newer tumors in Lela's remaining eye early saving her eye. It's St Jude's pioneering discoveries that now gives Lela and other children with retinoblastoma a 95 percent chance of being cured.

Lela's dad says St. Jude feels like a second home to their family and that he gets a peace when he walks through the door. Lela says her favorite part of coming here is, "seeing the people."

Her parents never take a day for granted enjoying lela's go get 'em personality, a personality her mom says she wasn't sure they'd get to see.

Dad adds, "I don't doubt that whatever she dreams, she'll be able to do it."

Right now, Lela's got her life all planned out. She says, "I want to be a queen."

Mom follows that saying, "She can dream and she can imagine."

These thankful parents credit St. Jude for making that possible.

You can help children like Lela by getting your St. Jude Dream Home ticket. Tomorrow is the last day you can get your Dream Home ticket and qualify for the early bird prize which this year is a CMA fest package!

Wow, get your ticket for a chance to win the house in Franklin at this link:

http://fox17.com/features/st-jude-dream-home-giveaway or call 1-800-746-6713.

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