By Jennifer Jimenez
Hosting family and friends at their home, complete with cookouts, laughs and making memories was a weekend tradition at the Surprise home of Brett and Alicia Raskey with their 10-year-old-son, Tyler, and 6-year-old son, Colin.
But on March 14, a medical diagnosis put a sudden halt to the lives they knew.
Colin was just a normal kid playing football and going to school when he began complaining of headaches and acting a little off. He didn’t want to play outside and his father Brett said he was complaining of the heat in February.
“We were on our way to football practice when I told him if he agreed to take a CT scan, I would take him out for ice cream,” Brett Raskey said.
That scan on March 14 showed a cancerous tumor on Colin’s brain and he was admitted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital that evening. Brett and Alicia stayed in the hospital every single night, while Colin underwent two brain surgeries. The first was 12 hours and the next day another three hours.
“The tumor was the size of a woman’s fist and the area they were working in the cerebellum caused him to have Posterior Fossa Syndrome which puts him back to like a newborn where he has to learn to talk and walk and undergo therapy to reteach the brain everything,” Mr. Raskey said.
Colin was at Phoenix Children’s for 52 straight nights until May 5.
But when he returned their home looked a little different. A new fire pit and barbecue island were added to their backyard, as well as several plants and modifications to existing work in the front and back.
A group of volunteers came together to make it all happen. It started with a Facebook message from the Raskeys’ neighbor to business owner David Bell of Advant-Edge Curbing & Landscaping Inc., and the rest is history.
“Davis (Margau) and I went over to check it out and to find out what the family wanted and then I started to put a plan together,” Mr. Bell said. “My crews donated all the labor and I went to work to gather materials and was able to get them donated by Belgard, Grand Materials and Rock and Rollin Rock Sales. Cranmore Carpet Cleaning supplied all the food for the volunteers and cleaned the house before Colin came home.”
Mr. Bell said he got involved in the project because it feels good to help someone out. He said the Raskeys’ reaction was priceless and more than he could ask for.
“Now they can enjoy the area and not have to worry about it and that makes it nice,” Mr. Bell said.
Mr. Raskey said having the backyard space is unbelievable and says they have had someone over every weekend since Colin came home.
“It’s crazy because words can’t express how humble and thankful we are having these kind of people in our lives. It’s touching to the deepest level to know there are people out there to do this for us and they don’t know who we are,” he said. “It’s nice to hear positivity and it really restores humanity. It’s amazing what people have done for us and we are forever thankful.”