Child cancer survivor surprised with playground

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - Volunteers came together to build Hayden Avery a new playset Thursday, and they say they want to build hope to kids fighting cancer through the power of play.

Hayden said, "I didn't know a playground was going to be built here."

Volunteers from the ROC Solid Foundation and State Farm Insurance built the playground which is among 500 they've built for children battling illness throughout the country.

The seven-year-old Greenville boy battled a type of cancer called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Many children with pediatric cancer like Hayden can't play on regular playgrounds because the germs affect them more strongly when they go through treatment. But now, Hayden can play safer, and as much as he wants.

State farm Sales Leader Gary Davis is part of the volunteer team that made the backyard playset possible. He said, "Just to kind of take him away from a lot of those treatments, take his mind off of that for a little bit and bring a smile to his heart and his face and bring some joy to his family, that's priceless."

Hayden was cleared of cancer last month and his mother said being able to play outside on the playset is just what her son needed.

"And this is just a start to what normal life is going to be like again," said Hayden's mother Summer Avery.