Teen battling cancer gets Christmas wish thanks to community

Teen battling cancer gets Christmas wish

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A Henrico teen who’s battling a rare bone and soft tissue cancer got her Christmas wish thanks to dozens of people in the community.

In November Peyton Hougham, 13, said all she wanted for Christmas was for her front yard to be decorated for the holidays.

12 On Your Side put the call out for help, along with Kay Atkinson at Ruby F. Carver Elementary, and dozens of people reached out asking how they could help.

Originally, Peyton had hoped for a few blow-ups in the front yard and some lights, but the end result is far from that.

“Um, wow! It’s amazing!” said Catherine Hougham, Peyton’s mom.

It took more than three days to put the light display together for Peyton and her family.

From the ornaments in the tree to the lights on the porch, all of it was donated by people in the community who wanted to make Peyton’s Christmas wish come true.

But it wasn’t easy. Last week’s snow storm had several ‘Tacky Light Tour’ guys working in a variety of elements.

“At our houses it mostly takes a month, so we’re trying to take a months work and cut it down into two days,” said John Foster, who helped decorate the yard.

‘Tacky Light Tour’ guys had seen Peyton’s original story on NBC12 and banded together in order to help bring a smile to Peyton’s face despite what she’s going through.

Peyton has Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone and soft tissue cancer. She first started feeling symptoms with pain in her shoulder, and shortly after starting 8th grade (in September) was given her diagnosis.

“It’s heartbreaking, and you just want to help out in any way you possibly can,” Foster said.

“I had no idea it was going to go this far,” said Kay Atkinson, the organizer for decorating Peyton’s yard.

Atkinson helped put the call out for help through the elementary school Peyton used to attend.

Parents, students and strangers from the community dropped off decorations at Ruby F. Carver Elementary to help fulfill Peyton’s wish.

“I’m just in shock,” Peyton said. “It’s just a lot and it’s really cool.”

"It has exceeded any dream that I could have had,” Atkinson said. “It just melts my heart to know that Peyton is going through so much and she’s going to have something so simple to give, and now look at.”

“They got Peyton involved yesterday,” Catherine said. “They asked her what she wanted, picking out blowups and it was just amazing. I cried a little. It’s just very heartfelt.”

While the front porch is Peyton’s favorite part of the yard in addition to the hot air balloon, for Peyton’s mom... it’s the simple sign out in front that embodies what the family is going through.

“The ‘Pray for Pey’ sign that Daniel Pendergrass made… that was very touching,” Catherine said. “It gives a nice focal point at night.”

Foster said Pendergrass donated more than 25,000 brand new lights in order to help fulfill Peyton’s wish.

The family also wants to thank everyone who donated to Carver Elementary in order to help Peyton’s wish come true.

Catherine said doctors are allowing Peyton to stay home for Christmas pending no major changes in her health.

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