Volunteers build playground for 6-year-old South Carolina boy with leukemia


ROCK HILL, S.C. (NewsNation Now) — For several hours on Monday morning, volunteers worked to transform Noah Cioni’s backyard in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

“He knows something is going on,” said John Cioni about the plan to surprise his son.

In March, doctors diagnosed Noah with leukemia. The family received the news right before the pandemic hit. Since then, they have pretty much stayed at home out of fear their 6-year-old could get even sicker.

“Before COVID they weren’t able to go to public parks and now they can’t even consider it because of their compromised immune systems,” explained Kathleen Hanson with Roc Solid Foundation.

The nonprofit builds hope and brings play to families with children who receive a cancer diagnosis. As NewsNation affiliate, WJZY-TV reported, their connection with families starts in hospitals.

They deliver backpacks full of necessities that families may need during unexpected hospital stays. Volunteers support families in the Carolinas and Virginia.

“It’s amazing that they do this for families that are in their darkest moments,” said Cioni.

Noah left for Levine Children’s Hospital for treatment and that’s when the transformation started.

TPC Piper Glen and Firethorne Country Clubs raised money to help make the playset a possibility.

“For us to raise some money and do something special means everything,” said TPC Piper Glen General Manger Ron Wonderling.

After finishing the playset, the team sanitized it and signed it with encouraging words.

Noah took off his blindfold and smiled.

“It’s awesome,” said Noah who proceeded to check every inch of the playset out.

“Overcoming everything that’s going on and to just see a little good that’s going back into the world, it’s really great,” said Cioni.

It’s an act of kindness this family will continue to cherish.

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