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Chesy couple take St. Jude giveaway prize

CHESAPEAKE — It wasn’t the prize, but the cause that prompted Kelly Marcum of Chesapeake to buy two $100 tickets for chances for this year’s St. Jude Dream House Giveaway.

“We donate to St. Jude’s every year and have bought tickets all three times (for the giveaway),” Marcum said. “I think it is a good cause. I have a two-year-old and thankfully he is healthy. I like to do anything to help out kids.”

Now Marcum and her husband Doug face a unique decision: Do they move into the $420,000 4-bedroom/4.5 bath house in Milton, W.Va., that they won Sunday night or the cash option of $200,000.

“We are still doing a lot of talking to figure out what we are going to do,” she said. “It is still hard to believe.”

The St. Jude Dream Home giveaway was begun in 1991 by Dr. Donald Mack, a pediatric doctor who has used the services of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for his own patients. It was in Shreveport, La., Mack’s home town, where the first giveaway was done. Now it is done in more than 40 markets nationwide and has brought in more than $155 million for the Memphis, Tenn.-based children’s cancer hospital.

Sunday proved to be a day of good news for the Marcums who found out that morning that Kelly was expecting their second child. In fact, they were getting ready for a family cookout to announce the new baby when Kelly flipped on the television to watch the drawing for the house.

“I saw the last five minutes when they actually drew my name,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it until they actually called and confirmed it and said it a couple of times.”

Marcum’s husband, Doug, is the owner/operator of Marcum Pump and Equipment in Huntington, W.Va., and originally from Chesapeake, where they now live.

Marcum works for the corporate side of AT&T and is not tied to a particular location so a move to Milton is feasible.

“It is a beautiful home,” Marcum said. “I went and toured it last week at their open house and we went up Sunday when we won. It is very overwhelming, so unreal.”

Right now, the Marcums are talking with accountants and lawyers to see if a new home in a gated community is the more feasible choice. Or if they should continue with the renovations they’re doing on their home in Chesapeake and take the cash option.

“Either way, we are definitely blessed,” Marcum said.