A kind-hearted community clubbed together to surprise a young cancer sufferer who returned home from life-saving treatment in America to find her home had been given a £60,000 makeover.
Brave Emily Cassidy, three, had an operation remove an aggressive cancerous tumour behind her eye in March but doctors discovered soon after the disease had spread.
The youngster went through a gruelling course of chemotherapy and was granted funding on the NHS to travel to the USA in June for vital Proton Beam Therapy.
The treatment uses beams of protons to kill cancerous cells with much less damage to surrounding tissue, easing the gruelling side effects of conventional therapy.
And after responding well Emily and mum Lucy, 27, returned home yesterday (Thurs) after nine weeks abroad to find their home had undergone a ‘DIY SOS’ style renovation.
The formerly dilapidated property in Stechford, Birmingham, has been completely transformed to make it a safe and clean environment for the youngster to recover in.
It was previously left in a poor state by former contractors, with wires hanging perilously from the ceilings and a new-build extension that had been deemed unsafe.
But generous members of the local community joined together to provide products and services to assist with the makeover while Emily and her family were away.
The interior has been thoroughly rewired and replumbed, the back garden has been landscaped and the front drive has been block paved.
Speaking before the renovation, single mum Lucy, a full-time carer, said: “I have three girls, Chelsea, Chloe and Emily.
“Emily has just been diagnosed with retinoblastoma.
“She’s had two lots of chemotherapy so far and on the 28th June, we fly to America for proton beam therapy.
“It’s a laser that hits the cancer direct. It’s a 95 per cent success rate, but we will be over there for nine weeks.
“It is horrible coming back home, but this is what I’ve made it, even though it’s in such a state of disrepair, and I do hate that, it’s what I’ve made it and I love this house.
“I would never, ever leave this house, ever.
“I’m excited to see it when it’s done. This has been my home for seven years and I’m excited to see it finished.
“My kids can walk in here and have toys to play with, and they’ll just have a home
“They can play in the garden and in their play rooms, it will be amazing for them.”
The project by Help Harry Help Others was spearheaded by Georgie Moseley, 32, who lost her son Harry to cancer in 2011.
After Georgie visited the family’s home earlier in this year, she became motivated her to put an appeal on Facebook to help her carry out the momentous task.
Georgie’s call for help received an overwhelming response from businesses across the region who pulled together to deliver a to meet the family’s needs.
Colmore Tang Construction, which project managed the transformation, said that the overall refurbishment is worth in the region of £60,000.
Apprentices from Birmingham’s South & City College worked on the project with local suppliers and contractors, and the house was given a new extension and roof.
Georgie, 32, added: “I was approached by a friend of the family who was absolutely horrified herself when she saw how the family were living.
“The Cassidy family used to always go to their house because they were embarrassed, and they shouldn’t be.
“There’s lots of health issues within the family anyway, and on top of that, the three-year-old little girl has just been diagnosed with cancer.
“She’s constantly at hospital, her life’s been turned upside down, and they should be coming home to a tranquil place where they can just be a family.”
Today (Thurs) Lucy said her “dreams had come true” after her newly renovated home was unveiled to her upon their return from Jacksonville, Florida.
She added: “I was gobsmacked, I knew they were doing something but I did not think in my wildest dreams it was going to be on this scale.
“All I was expecting was for them to fix the roof, do a bit of re-plastering and give it a lick of paint.
“But this is like a show home – I feel like I have a completely new house.
“Emily has been amazing in America, you wouldn’t think she was going what she is going through.
“She has been playing in her new dolls house ever since she got back.
“She knows this is her home but I have had to explain to her that this is her new bed and her new toys – she’s more than happy with it.
“My favourite part is the kitchen. Before it was just a dining room with a cooker.
“My sink broke so I have been washing up in the bath for the last five years as well, so its amazing I can now do what most normal people do.
“Its a real testament to good old community spirit and people clubbing together to help each other.
“I am really touched and overwhelmed.
“It’s a dream come true.”