Five-year-old Lucy Duersch was diagnosed Aug. 5 with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a rare and inoperable brain stem tumor with limited in treatment options. Despite the situation, Lucy’s parents, Vicky and Paul Duersch of Lynden, have been making the best of everything with the help of numerous members of the community.
After Lucy finished her six-week radiation treatment at University of Washington Hospital, Lucy, her parents, and her three siblings – Benjamin, 10, Rhett, 8, and Ella, 3 – went on a family vacation.
Family friend John Young wanted to help the family but wasn’t sure how, until Paul mentioned a home renovation project that he was planning to do.
“John really ran with it and I’m blown away by all the local companies that he contacted in the area who were more than willing to volunteer and pitch in and help out,” Paul said.
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Walking into the Duersch’s home now, one would never suspect the house once was overrun by green decor. There now is luminous lighting that brightens up the orange tinged-tan walls in the living room. French doors lead from the living room to the family room/child’s play room that has new outlets and light switches along with a new paint job. The popcorn ceiling and the dark green carpet have been torn out and replaced with a smooth ceiling and a soft khaki-colored carpet.
Though the family knew the renovation was happening, their surprise couldn’t have been more genuine when they came home Saturday night, Oct. 8.
“We knew to expect something but it was fun to walk in the door and just see this clean house and everything was just bright,” Vicky said. “For so long, our house has been dark and to just see the brightness and see the decor that someone came in and put it in for us it was just comforting and exciting.”
With so many people, both known and anonymous, donating their time and resources to help out the Duersch family with their home renovation and with Lucy’s gofundme page ($46,585 raised in two months by 563 people), it’s hard to know exactly who to thank, Paul and Vicky said.
Along with sending their heartfelt thanks to the community, the Duersch family also wants to get the word out about DIPG.
According to Vicky, pediatric cancers only receive 4 percent of the budget for research and with Lucy’s cancer being so rare, it hardly receives any funding. She hopes that in telling their story, people will see it and recognize that something needs to be done.
“We know that there are also other families out there like us who are going through the same thing and I think that we could probably speak for them as well as us when we say that things like this where people out of the goodness of their hearts give up their time and their resources just out of care,” Vicky said. “It’s huge.
“It means a lot and it lifts us up way more than you would ever imagine because its not fixing what is wrong with Lucy, but it is in a lot of ways healing some part of us that you know, can’t really be done any other way. Kindness really matters.”