LAST CHANCE :: Want to see Taylor Swift in concert? Children’s Hospital New Orleans is raffling Eras Tour tickets to help patients like ‘Extraordinary Emmett’

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LAST CHANCE :: Want to see Taylor Swift in concert? Children’s Hospital New Orleans is raffling Eras Tour tickets to help patients like ‘Extraordinary Emmett’

Enter to win tickets to see Taylor Swift When Joycelyn and Dylan Richards noticed their son Emmett was often sick with fevers and coughs in August 2023, they attributed it to the physical adjustments of going back to school. But, when the 6-year-old didn’t respond to medications and his fevers persisted, Emmett’s pediatrician insisted on blood work.

When the results came back and the pediatrician noticed several abnormalities, she told Emmett’s parents to bring him directly to Children’s Hospital New Orleans for immediate treatment. He received a blood transfusion almost right away and a bone marrow biopsy was scheduled for the following morning. The results showed that Emmett had acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which begins in the bone marrow and often quickly moves into the blood. 

“I felt like I had let my child down,” Joycelyn Richards said. “Emmett had always been an active kid. I never would have suspected he would have blood cancer. It never entered my mind. I’m forever grateful that our pediatrician was persistent and caught it when she did.”

The AML diagnosis was the beginning of a months-long treatment process for Emmett at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. Physicians at the Center have access to the most modern therapies for blood disorders and malignancies in children. That meant that Emmett was able to immediately participate in a clinical trial and begin chemotherapy. 

After analyzing Emmett’s specific AML case and mutations, doctors determined he would need a bone marrow transplant. Children’s Hospital New Orleans is the only accredited pediatric stem cell transplant facility in Louisiana, performing bone marrow transplants and We call him our Extraordinary Emmett because he did so spectacular.”CAR-T cell therapy. Emmett’s procedure was a success, and his positive attitude and progress stunned his doctors and care team. 

“He was sitting up in bed and talking to us when the doctors expected him to be barely functional because his body was so drained,” Dylan Richards said. “The doctors and nurses had tears in their eyes when they were filling out his paperwork to come home because he was able to be released so soon and had so few setbacks. He was in remission a week after the bone marrow transplant. We call him our Extraordinary Emmett because he did so spectacular.”

Children’s Hospital New Orleans is prepared to treat more children like Emmett who have leukemia, lymphoma, hemophilia, sickle cell disease and other blood disorders. To help provide that care, the hospital is raffling off 28 suite tickets to Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour stop at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans on October 26.

The raffle tickets are $200 each with 5,000 maximum chances being sold. Tickets can be purchased online until March 21 at Seven winners of four tickets each will be drawn and notified on March 23. 


“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and for no greater cause,” said Children’s Hospital New Orleans President and CEO Lucio A. Fragoso. “Raffle ticket sales will benefit the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, with proceeds being put to use immediately to help fund a new Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Unit at Children’s Hospital. We are calling all Swifties to join in and enter for your chance to win.”

The new unit will build upon Children’s Hospital New Orleans’ well-established position as a leader in the South in this specialized care. Since 2008, it has remained Louisiana’s only pediatric FACT-accredited bone marrow transplant program. 

“It’s a point of pride for us to be able to meet the needs of our population right here in the city,” said Dr. Zach LeBlanc, who specializes in hematology and oncology at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “These are advanced therapies that match the state-of-the-art care you would get anywhere else in the country. We fight hard to have those resources. We’re going to continue to do our part to make sure our patients have access to the same treatments as any other kids in the country.”

Dr. LeBlanc noted that in December 2023, the Food and Drug Administration approved Children’s Hospital New Orleans to provide gene therapy for sickle cell disease, making it the only site in Louisiana to offer this life-changing treatment. 

“We are actively evaluating patients and anticipate treating at least one patient with the gene therapy this year,” he said. “This is a population that doesn’t always get the resources they need, so we’re excited to take a leading role in treating sickle cell disease and providing the best level of care possible.” 

While Emmett has resumed normal activities and has been declared cancer-free, the Richards family plans to keep supporting Children’s Hospital New Orleans. His parents have bonded with others whose kids are battling the same disease. The doctors and nurses became like family during Emmett’s extended hospital stay, including 36 days when he couldn’t leave his room. In fact, Emmett is a bit of a celebrity at the hospital, greeting everyone from security guards to cafeteria staff to surgeons when he goes back for routine follow-up visits.

“Every single person we met welcomed us with open arms and made us feel comfortable and safe,” Joycelyn Richards said. “It’s a big deal to trust your child’s health and future to other people. But, from the first night we were admitted, I felt at ease. It was an emotional experience, but it was a blessing that it happened at Children’s.”

The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital New Orleans comprises the largest group of hematology and oncology physicians and nurses dedicated exclusively to pediatrics in the Gulf South. They are specially trained to care for the unique needs of children and work alongside a medical staff of more than 200 pediatric specialists. Support for patients and families is provided by child psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. For more information, visit

Story written by Amanda McElfresh, The Times-Picayune