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8-year-old battling rare cancer will receive a Make-A-Wish playground for his backyard


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – An 8-year-old child from Cedar Rapids with a very rare form of cancer will soon be making his wish come true.

We first told you about Gracelyn Springer in December. It fights against Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancer of the bones and soft tissues which accounts for only 1% of childhood cancers. Gracelyn had originally planned to travel to Walt Disney World through the Make-A-Wish organization, but trips are still on hold at this time due to COVID-19.

“As optimistic as we are that she will overcome this and not relapse, relapse is possible. It happens 25% of the time, so we wanted to do something that she could enjoy now, ”said Kelsey Springer, Gracelyn’s mom.

Instead, Gracelyn chose a playground for her backyard. There was a hiccup in the start-up process, the family yard is sloping and the playing field needed a flatter surface. The rear of the property is flatter, but a fence had to be pulled out and extended. Most local fencing businesses are backed up for months because of the derecho.

Aaron Novak with Novak Fence was able to help the family by getting the job done quickly.

“He looked at our fence, he said yes I can do it, I can get you in next month,” Kelsey said.

Not only did Novak extend the fence to make way for the playing field, he did it for free.

“When I was there to meet her, she told me she had to quit her job to take Gracie to the Mayo Clinic all the time, and there are better ways to spend the money than on a fence, ”Novak said.

When the family found out that Novak was doing all the work and was not going to charge them, they could hardly believe it.

“I cried just because of the selflessness and the giving,” Kelsey said.

“I mean, if someone is in need, you do whatever you can to help them,” Novak said.

First diagnosed in November, Gracelyn still has 3 months of chemotherapy. Now she can’t wait for her playground wish to come true. She told us the best part of the playground would be “no boys allowed,” with the exception of her younger brother Jackson and dad, Marty Tope.

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