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Target House, a long-term housing facility for families of patients who are receiving lifesaving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, turned “double-digits” this year. To commemorate 10 years of providing a home-away-from-home for St. Jude patients and their families, Target House is celebrating this milestone with a star-studded event by involving celebrities who have helped contribute to the House over the years.
Celebrity friends, including Shaun White, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Scott Hamilton, Amy Grant, Sean Conway and Tony Thomas, will join former and current Target House residents to celebrate 10 years with a big top birthday party. The circus-themed festivities will kick off on Friday, September 18 and include a larger-than-life tiered birthday cake stage, special performances from season six American Idol first runner-up, Blake Lewis, Memphis’ own urban acrobatic troupe and America’s Got Talent contestants, Beale Street Flippers, and more—all under a big top circus tent.
Additionally, guests will be able to tour newly remodeled celebrity-designed rooms, including the Shaun White Great Room, Jonas Brothers Karaoke Stage in the current dining room, Amy Grant Music Room, Paisley Lodge and Sean Conway Courtyard, which have all received makeovers to help inspire and enhance resident life at Target House.
“Over the past 10 years, Target House has become such a vital part of the St. Jude community, that it’s hard to remember what the hospital was like without it,” said Marlo Thomas, national outreach director for St. Jude. “More than just a warm and beautiful housing facility, it is a safe haven for the Moms and Dads and children of St. Jude—a place of family and community, a place of shared journeys of pain and celebration that is as much a part of the healing process as the medical treatment itself. Target House is a blessing to all of us.”
Target House has served as a temporary home-away-from-home to more than 1,300 families from around the world. The facility has provided apartments free-of-charge to families of children whose treatments require that they be in Memphis for more than 90 days with some families staying as long as three years. This commitment is part of the St. Jude promise to cover all patient treatment costs, including expenses not covered by insurance.
“Target House is a place where people who have been brought together by unfortunate circumstances feel a sense of togetherness and love that will last their entire lifetime. It was more than just a place to stay while receiving treatment at St. Jude, it was my home,” said Michael Swart, one of the first Target House residents, who is now working on his PhD at Columbia University in New York City. “I love Target House, and its spirit will always be a part of who I am.”
The following rooms have received a complete transformation, thanks to Target celebrity partners and the Target design team.
Shaun White Great Room
Professional snowboarder and Olympic gold medalist, Shaun White, wants Target House residents to have a new place where they can come together, escape from their daily lives and have a little fun. With the help of his brother, Jesse, the two designed a Native American, ‘70s rock & roll-inspired room, with hip, edgy, custom-made animal furniture, including a snowboard lion table, black bunny end tables, and a 5½- foot black pig side table (life-size replica). To ensure residents have the most up-to-date technology, Shaun included a two-sided flat screen television in the middle of the room and an electronics corner, featuring a Wii® and other gaming systems where kids can play Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip, among other games. Other design elements include a clear, acrylic foosball table and a two-and-a-half person chair so that kids can sit together watching television, playing games or just enjoying each others’ company.
Inspired by urban cowboys, country music and western movies, with a touch of technology, the Paisley Lodge has been designed to reflect Brad as an artist and musician, with down-home country style, with designs mirroring the Paisleys’ cabin. The room will serve as a comfortable space where children and their families can get lost for a couple of hours and leave with a smile and a laugh. Design elements include a large Fender guitar chandelier, a pool table finished with an “old-time” feel, a distressed game table with barrel base and guitar pick top, horse saddle stools, and a gaming alcove with electronic games popular with kids and families, including a vintage Ms. Pac-Man table. The finishes and palette incorporated into the room are a mix of worn wood, cowboy prints, wrought iron, leather, cowhide prints and warm paint. Lastly, the memorabilia alcove will house special things from the Paisley family, reflecting Brad, his wife and actress, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and their two young sons, Huck and Jasper.
Jonas Brothers Karaoke Stage
The residents of Target House used to enjoy karaoke night about once a week with their family and friends. However, the GRAMMY®-nominated and Hollywood Records platinum-selling artists the Jonas Brothers want to bring the fun of karaoke to Target House families everyday. To help make this possible, the platinum recording artists designed a fully equipped karaoke space in the current dining room. The area includes a top-of-the line karaoke system, speaker system and microphones, as well as a brightly-colored tiled stage and lighting system so that Target House residents can enjoy the spotlight while singing their favorite tunes.
Amy Grant Music Room
A long-time supporter of Target House, Amy Grant helped make music available everyday to residents when Target House first opened 10 years ago, with the Amy Grant Music Room. Now, the GRAMMY®-award winning singer and songwriter, with the help of Target designers, has brought southern warmth and style to the renovated Music Room. The room now includes custom-made furniture, 6-foot white Wainscot paneling, new wall-to-wall floral carpet and plantation shutters. In addition, the room includes a humungous 22-foot sofa, music stands with six built-in lamps, three of which drop down for the smaller kids. Residents will also be able to expand their love of music with brand new musical instruments, including guitars and bongo drums, as well as one of her GRAMMY® Awards and hand-written lyrics.
Sean Conway Courtyard
Designer Sean Conway knows that one of life’s greatest escapes is to spend time outdoors with friends and family. Sean and his team designed a beautiful new backyard space so residents have room to play their favorite sports like baseball, soccer, or a game of tag—with seating located close enough for parents to watch their children having fun. Tranquil gardens were created so residents, friends and staff could have a quiet space when needed. Also, a special screened-in room was designed for teens with oversized couches, a Ping-Pong table and flat-screen televisions with Xbox® and Wii®, providing teens with their own outdoor space to “hang” with friends.
In addition to celebrity room renovations, all 96-apartment suites located within Target House were updated to include new flat-screen televisions, DVD players, DVR systems and iPod® docking stations with volume controls and timers. Additionally, Target House suite renovations include improved closet space and new household furniture, including a large credenza with a desk and chair, and storage products.
“While nothing can completely replace the comfort of one’s home, Target House comes close by providing families a place where they receive compassion, comfort and strength from sharing in other family’s struggles and victories,” said Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target. “The entire Target family—team members, celebrity partners and vendors—have embraced Target House and we are excited to celebrate all of the lives the home-away-from-home has touched over the past 10 years.”
St. Jude Wish List
Target has launched an online “Wish List” of items needed and requested specifically by St. Jude patients and their families. Guests who visit Target.com/targethouse will be able to buy special gifts for St. Jude children and their families throughout the year.
Celebrity friends of Target House, such as Oprah Winfrey, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Maya Angelou, Christina Aguilera, Rob Thomas and Katherine Heigl have all joined the likes of John Travolta and Tom Hanks to design elephant “works of art” to be framed and unveiled as part of Target House’s Elephant Exhibition.
The exhibition was conceived to echo the life-sized elephant water fountain sculpture designed by architect Michael Graves that greets guests and families at the entrance to the Target House grounds. Elephants represent family, long life, strength and playfulness, which is why they serve as a mascot for Target House.
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