Regina Fisher of Hickory won a house – a nearly half-million-dollar, new beauty in Charlotte’s Palisades community near Lake Wylie.
In early fall, Fisher bought five $100 raffle tickets when she heard about the Charlotte St. Jude (Children’s Research Hospital) Dream Home Giveaway. Then she forgot about the contest.
“It never even crossed my mind I would win that house,” she said. “I was just donating money to St. Jude.”
She and her husband, Van Fisher, have supported St. Jude for years. They’ve had no personal experience with the hospital, but they know it “does wonderful things for children,” Regina said.
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And with three healthy children and two grandchildren, the Fishers like to demonstrate their gratitude by donating to the Memphis, Tenn., hospital.
Regina Fisher saw the St. Jude fundraiser advertised on WBTV 3 for several days. Finally, with only a day or two to spare, Fisher mentioned to her husband that she’d like to donate to the children’s hospital again this year, but she didn’t tell him she was going to buy raffle tickets. Regina said she figured St. Jude would get the money either way. Plus, she wanted to support Charlotte’s first Dream Home Giveaway, which ultimately sold 8,000 tickets.
Although it was the first time the giveaway was held in Charlotte, it’s been held many times across nation. According to Amy Costliow, who works at St. Jude’s Charlotte office, the children’s hospital has given away 340 houses through raffles during the past 23 years, raising more than $270 million.
On the day of the drawing in early October, Regina was busy at her husband’s business in Hickory, Systel Business Equipment, where Van was hosting a customer appreciation event. An employee told Regina she’d won. She didn’t believe him, but he was persistent, and reality finally set in.
She screamed and yelled and jumped up and down, which drew Van’s attention. At that point, Regina told her husband she had entered the drawing. “I was shocked that she won the house,” he said. “It was surely a blessing.”
“Then my phone started blowing up,” Regina said, “people calling and texting me.”
Later that evening, she got a call from WBTV’s Christine Nelson, who’d pulled Fisher’s name during the televised drawing. “She asked, ‘Do you know why I’m calling?’” said Regina, who later noticed she’d missed two previous calls from Nelson.
Built by Kingswood Custom Homes, the 2,900-square-foot house valued at $485,000 has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a media room and 10-foot. ceilings. Regina and Van Fisher have been to Charlotte to see the house, but only from the outside.
“It’s beautiful,” said Regina, who said the back of the structure is a favorite part of it because of the expanse of glass doors that open onto a rock patio with a built-in fireplace.
She also won the appliances in the house but not the furniture, which was placed for staging purposes only. For a virtual tour of the home, visit www.stjude.org.
“I’ve never won anything in my life,” said Regina, who qualified that statement by saying she’d won a chainsaw during a work-related drawing for door prizes. She wasn’t too thrilled with the chainsaw and passed it to her husband.
Her level of delight was considerably higher when she won the house.
Will the Fishers leave their Hickory home and move into the dream house? There’s much to consider, including a long commute to work for Van and the fact that some of the Fishers’ family live in Hickory, including their 11-year-old grandson Alex Fisher, who said someone called his house on the day of the drawing to say Alex’s grandmother had won. “I looked it up on my mom’s iPad and found out it was true,” said Alex.
“It’s because of programs like this that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live,” said Costliow, who added that the Charlotte Dream Home Giveaway was made possible because of community support and generous sponsors including Kingswood Custom Homes, WBTV, Havertys Furniture, 96.9-FM The Kat radio station, Brizo faucets, Shaw Floors and Trane heating and cooling systems.
Costliow said St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for the most aggressive childhood cancers, and treatments developed at the children’s hospital have helped to push the overall childhood cancer-survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since St. Jude opened more than 50 years ago. The hospital is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent in the next decade.
The Fishers are waiting for information pertaining to taxes and other legal matters. In the meantime, they’ll continue toying with the idea of keeping their St. Jude Dream Home. As for donating to St. Jude next year, there’s no question about it.
Those who reserved a ticket to win the dream home or attended the open house were eligible for additional prizes. For a complete list of winners and prizes, call 800-592-1602 or visit dreamhome.org.