Gary Bottoms didn’t have plans to leave Gardner. The retired firefighter has called this community home for as many years as he’s been alive.
Winning the St. Jude’s Kansas City Dream Home has him considering a move across the state line.
“I’m going to have to put pencil to paper and find out what it’s going to cost to furnish the home, what taxes are going to be, what the home owner’s association fees are,” Bottoms said. “I don’t really know for sure if I’m moving.”
When he purchased the $100 raffle ticket to win the 4,200-square-foot home in Raymore, Mo., Bottoms was simply donating to a great cause. St. Jude’s Hospital hosts the raffle annually in several communities across the money.
The children’s research hospital, located in Tennessee, treats young people with catastrophic diseases. The funds allow patients to receive care at no cost. Its physicians have treated children from all 50 states. St Jude has developed protocols that have helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to 80 percent today.
Bottoms buys a raffle ticket for the dream house fundraiser every year.
“It never even crossed my mind that I might win,” Bottoms said. “It’s just my way of donating to them, because they’re a fantastic organization.”
The organization ensures that the majority of its donor money reaches those in need and isn’t used for overhead costs.
“I like to donate to places where most of the money you donate goes to the people you’re trying to help,” Bottoms said. “Hundreds and thousands of kids that would’ve been given a death sentence before now are being cured. It’s a fantastic place to put your money if you’re going to donate to somebody.”
He was sitting in a restaurant in Kansas City, when he received the life-altering phone call that he’d won a five-bedroom, four-and-half bath dream home.
“It took awhile in the noisy restaurant to figure out that I had won,” he said. “I finished up and went to the car trying to figure out if I’d been pranked.”
When he received a second call from a St. Jude’s representative, he knew it was the real deal – he’d won a home.
With a local television crew in tow, he toured the home on Sunday.
“It’s a fantastic house,” Bottoms said. “it’s absolutely beautiful. A lot of well, thought-out design went into it.”
That said, Bottoms isn’t certain he’ll move in.
“I wish I could move it to Johnson County. It’d make my decision a whole lot easier,” he said.