Community organizes surprise backyard renovation for N.S. boy with leukemia
Published Wednesday, July 29, 2015 6:04PM EDT
A community in Dartmouth, N.S. organized a surprise backyard renovation on Wednesday for a seven-year-old boy with leukemia who is mostly constrained to his home because of his illness.
Bryan Carroll was diagnosed with the disease last year. For a time, his leukemia went into remission but it eventually came back. And now, the seven-year-old spends most of his time at home because he is too ill to be in crowds.
So a group of friends and family decided to help him make the most of his time at home, by turning his family's backyard into the perfect place to play.
"Bryan's dad and I were standing in the backyard (and) he mentioned what his thoughts were on the backyard, but that time was just not on his side. So I went home and started making some phone calls," family friend Leanne Christie told CTV Atlantic.
And those calls materialized into a turnout of about 50 people on Wednesday.
Over a span of about five hours, volunteers worked on transforming a waterlogged backyard. Friends and family laid new sod, installed a swing set, put in furniture and brought in new toys for Bryan.
"Everything to do a completely beautiful backyard so that they can spend their time outdoors as a family," said family friend Melissa Ruginski.
Many of those lending a hand were students and teachers from Bryan's school.
"(I wanted) to help to make his family feel better," said one of Bryan's friends.
NHL stars Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche also showed up at the event to show their support.
And all the work was done in secret, as the family spent the day on a train trip.
When it was time for the big reveal, Bryan and his parents said they were amazed by the renovation.
"I am surprised by how much there is," said Marsha Carroll.
"We have limited time and we need to enjoy it. So it is nice, it is very nice," added Sean Carroll.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up for Bryan, which has raised more than $3,000 in four days.
With a report from CTV Atlantic's Kelly Linehan