Preston, GA woman wins $365,000 St. Jude Dream Home

Aaron and Joanne Blankenship, St. Jude Dream Home winners
Aaron and Joanne Blankenship, St. Jude Dream Home winners

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - More than 5,000 tickets were sold, bringing in a grand total of $551,367, and now the winner has been announced for the annual St. Jude Dream Home giveaway.

The winner of the $365,000 home is Joanne Blankenship of Preston, Georgia.

News Leader 9 talked to Mrs. Blankenship shortly after her name was announced live during the drawing and she tells us what the winning family has planned for the home.

For 72-year-old Joanne Blankenship owning the St. Jude Dream Home was indeed a dream, "It is a beautiful home. I told my husband I believe it is the nicest one I've seen."

Blankenship says her tickets were purchased, "My husband and I have always supported St. Jude for many years. Every year we bought a ticket for the Dream Home but even prior to that we had our own business, Blankenship Store, and we always contributed to St. Jude."

Her ticket, just one among 5,000, was thrown into the hopper. Joanne Blankenship told News Leader 9, "I sat there and said "they better turn those tickets good" and of course they did."

And then the winner of the Saint Jude Dream Home was announced. Blankenship said, "My husband says my eyes got so big, it was just unbelievable."

Joanne and her husband Aaron say they were thrilled to win, but Columbus will not likely be their new home, "I know we wouldn't move up there because both of us have been in Preston all our lives. I guess it would have to be sold."

The Blankenships say they have always bought Saint Jude Dream Home tickets, and they hope others will continue to do so, "I would encourage anyone to buy. You know whether you win anything or not, it's good to help these children. We haven't had any grandchildren that have had to go, and I know what it means to have a place to go to like that. I would encourage anyone to support it."

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