When the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon takes place in June there’ll be a young man from Williams Lake making a hefty donation on behalf of his community.
Seventeen-year-old Gregorson Mahon underwent 30 chemotherapy treatments and three surgeries to successfully treat Stage 4 testicular cancer between April and November 2010.
Gregorson is in remission now and will attend the telethon to present just over $80,000 to the B.C. Children’s Hospital.
The amount represents the profit generated when more than 50 local contractors, businesses, suppliers and individuals put money, materials and labour together and built a home on Eagle Drive.
The house was recently sold to a woman from 100 Mile House who wanted to be closer to her grandchildren.
Building a house to raise funds was an idea that Gregorson’s father Steve, owner of Macon Construction Ltd., came up with when his son was going through his third round of chemotherapy.
“It was during the miracle telethon weekend, and we were down there, and Steve was here watching it and he said, ‘you want to give back? I’ve got an idea, let’s build a house and see if everyone will throw in their profit, and they did,” says Karen Mahon, Steve’s wife and business partner.
People all the way through chipped in their profit and money, the couple says.
And they credit their office manager, Candace Weatherby, for successfully gaining support from the community for the project.
The Children’s Hospital is dear to the Mahons’ hearts and they say they’d build a house again.
“You couldn’t do it every year or anything, but we truly believe they saved his life twice. We know the Children’s Hospital and the trades have no problem donating to them,” Steve says.
The idea was that while people donated that everybody should break even.
Karen says it was amazingly easy to get people to sponsor the project because so many people are connected to the hospital.
When Gregorson had treatments, he would be in the hospital for five days, and couldn’t leave because he was hooked up to intravenous.
Seeing the hospital first hand made the couple see there needs to be some upgrades made to accommodate all the patients.
They could use more bathrooms for the patients, says Karen, explaining how she was allowed to stay in Gregorson’s room. At night she’d take his urine to a communal bathroom shared with other patients. Urine samples left there would allow staff to measure patients’ ins and outs.
She also described a 14-year-old girl having a stem-cell transplant who was staying in a quarantine room that had no bathroom.
“They had to wheel a seat in for her every time. It’s hard enough on kids; they don’t need that too,” Karen explains.
The family did have a scare in January when Gregorson experienced back pain and was sent by air ambulance back to the hospital.
“He had an infection that got into his blood system and they found a weak spot in his spine had abscessed there and tracked all the way up his spinal column to the back of his brain. He was in there for 11 days and on antibiotics, but it had nothing to do with his cancer,” says Karen.
The new home, located on Eagle Crescent, still has a sign on the front lawn acknowledging the house benefits the B.C. Children’s Hospital.