Ont. community rallies to renovate home for family of toddler battling cancer

An family in eastern Ontario is closer to bringing their three-year-old son battling cancer back home, thanks to an outpouring of support from the community.

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The McHugh family, from Carleton Place, Ont., moved into their dream home three years ago and were planning to renovate it one room at a time. But when Peter, 3, was diagnosed with leukemia, the family was forced to move out of the 100-year-old log cabin, unable to afford the cost of making their house safe for him.

Since July, the McHughs have been living at the Ottawa Ronald McDonald House, a charity-run residence where families can live with their sick or injured children while they receive medical treatment.

“His immune system is shot, so it’s extremely important that we keep it tidy and dust-free, and with an old home that is hard,” said Peter’s father Jay McHugh.

But that will soon change, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of family, friends and local businesses who are donating their time and money to help renovate the house to suit Peter’s needs.

Peter’s uncle told CTV Ottawa that the family is very close. “It means a lot to us to do what we can do to help them out.”

Over the next few months, Peter will receive extensive rounds of chemotherapy at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Jay now spends four days a week working on the house and the rest of his time with Peter in Ottawa, about 50 kilometres away. And while Peter won’t be home for Christmas, the family is hopeful that he will join them for the holidays next year.

Peter’s mother Veronika said that when they learned of her son’s cancer diagnosis “our world shattered.” She appreciated it when family and friends reached out to help.

“When something like this happens, you come to the realization that it’s OK to say thank you and ‘yes’ sometimes,” Veronika said.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver



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