Mum takes daughter to US for cancer treatment, and returns to stunning act of kindness from neighbours

Her home was transformed while she was away

Cassidy family

Emily Cassidy, aged three, had a tumour behind her eye, which needed treatment that wasn't available in the UK. The NHS agreed to pay for proton beam therapy in the US, so Emily and her mum Lucy flew out to Jacksonville, Florida in June. While they were away, locals gave them an incredible gift: a £60,000 home makeover.

The Daily Mail reported that Emily had been diagnosed with retinoblastoma at the beginning of the year, and had an operation to remove it in March. Unfortunately, doctors found it had spread, so Emily needed chemotherapy. They also recommended proton beam therapy, which attacks cancer cells, but does less damage to the rest of the body, and the NHS agreed to pay for treatment in the US.

According to the Birmingham Mail, the family's terraced house in Stretchford, Birmingham was in desperate need of improvement. Many of the rooms were in a terrible state, and Lucy had been forced to wash up in the bathroom after her kitchen sink broke five months ago.

They had been visited by Georgie Moseley of Help Harry Help Others, a charity she set up after losing her son Harry to cancer in 2011. While Lucy and Emily were in America, Lucy knew someone from the charity was coming in to help, but just thought they would fix the roof and do a bit of painting.

The kitchen

Instead, the charity brought together neighbours and local businesses to dramatically improve their home. They added a new roof, built a new kitchen, redecorated throughout, rewired and replumbed it, bought new furniture, and even built an extension, so Emily had a beautiful, bright home to help her recovery. Colmore Tang Construction, which managed the overhaul, said it was worth around £60,000.

Lucy said the change would transform life for her and her three children.

Lucy Cassidy views her transformed home

Transforming lives

It's the kind of story we only usually see on DIY SOS, and each time, it's a vital reminder of how a community can come together to dramatically improve the lives of people who have already gone through enough.

And while they are incredible stories to watch, those who take part say it's life-changing to be a part of too. When the programme comes to your area, the presenters will usually appear on local media asking for specific items or skills. However, the best way to avid missing this is to follow the programme on Twitter.

The Twitter feed shows they have been transforming a property in Welwyn Garden City during August, and that they will be helping another forces family in Manchester this autumn, and a family on the Isle of Sheppy in Kent in October, and are looking for people to help.

Alternatively, if you know someone who needs their help, you can nominate them online.

If you don't have the skills to help DIY SOS, then the Help Harry Help Others charity is always looking for donations to help other families touched by childhood cancer, and there's a Just Giving page where people can donate.

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