Lake Norman Publications

Playset provides cherished family normalcy for child battling cancer

Leon Rogers asked for a photo showing a size comparison between him and his new playset. He got it. /Lindsay Krone

HUNTERSVILLE – A Huntersville child battling cancer was surprised with a custom-built playset Monday, giving him and his brother a place to play that will protect his compromised immune system.

Leon Rogers, 9, has neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the nerve tissue of young children. He is one of 30 children fighting cancer chosen by the Virginia-based Roc Solid Foundation to receive a Backyard Discovery Woodland Swing Set during the month of September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Inspirational messages added to Leon’s playset by Roc Solid volunteers.
/Lindsay Krone

Roc Solid’s goal is to offer families hope through the power of play. The nonprofit was founded by Eric Newman, himself a pediatric cancer survivor who wanted to make a positive impact on children fighting cancer. This is the second year the foundation has done a “Play Defeats Cancer Tour” presented by Amazon during September. Leon’s playset was the fourth built this month.

Local volunteers from Amazon teamed up with the Roc Solid members on Labor Day to assemble the large playset in less than two hours. The volunteers wrote inspirational messages for Leon on the cedar playset and labeled it “Leon and Logan’s Clubhouse” for him and his brother.

Leon and his mom, Ana Rogers, accept a plaque entitled “What Cancer Can’t Do” from Roc Solid founder and Chief Play Officer Eric Newman. /Lindsay Krone

“It means so much to me and my kids, you have no idea,” said Ana Rogers, Leon’s mother, while thanking the volunteers. “It’s something else to think about other than cancer and hospital stays. This is going to bring so much happiness and normalcy to our really, really busy life so we really, really appreciate you guys being here.”

Newman told the crew they had changed the world by noon as ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Leon thanked them and checked out every feature of his new playset, testing the slide, swings and rock wall while  volunteers admired their handiwork.

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