N.S. family finds unique way to thank neighbours after son's cancer diagnosis
HALIFAX -- A family in Cape Breton who endured a cancer diagnosis with their son has come up with a unique and heartfelt way to repay their neighbours kindness during the hard times.
Nine years ago, Albert Mackay and Elaine Sutherlands son Brian started his battle with a life-threatening form of cancer.
"He was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer," explains Elaine. "He was 5-years-old and we had to spend a full year at the IWK."
While Elaine and her son stayed at the Health Centre in Halifax, Albert, who works as a contractor, had to stay home by himself.
During the time, Albert's next door neighbours, the Francis family, cooked meals for him.
"She didn’t want anything in return," says Elaine. "Albert offered her numerous things but she didn’t want anything. So then lo and behold, COVID-19 happens."
With some time on his hands, Albert got word that his neighbours children wanted a playground in the shape of a bulldozer but weren't able to get it shipped from the United States during the pandemic.
Four months later, and with a bit of hard work, the kids next door had the playground of their dreams.
"And that was his way of paying back all the generositythat Noline and her family did," says Elaine.
"It looks exactly like a bulldozer. I don’t know how he did that," says Jaron Francis, Albert and Elaine's neighbour.
Albert hasn't revealed his secrets behind the bulldozer playground, other than to say the blueprints were simply in his head.
So far, the playground has been a huge hit.
"I think it’s really cool. Albert worked really hard on it. I like playing on it every day," says Jaron.
"We think it's wonderful," says Kaley Francis, the neighbour of Elaine and Albert. "We all love it. The little guy is so excited to come home from school every day and play on it."
The man behind the masterpiece playground is one of few words, especially when it comes to his own good deeds.
"The time was not the greatest but it worked out really good, yeah," says Albert.
Today, Albert's son Brian is in good health and just started high school. His family say's they'll never forget the help they received during their hardest times.
"It was really hard being away but knowing that we had great neighbours made a big difference," says Elaine.