NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island cancer survivor is calling his neighbors’ efforts to reunite his family in a new house a dream come true.

Nine years ago James Shaljian was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, resulting in chemo, radiation and a bone marrow transplant. He was forced to leave his Mount Sinai home of 20 years and his family after doctors found out that the two-bedroom home was loaded with airborne mold that could not be abated.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: A Symbol Of Hope

With his immune system compromised James moved into a cottage in the backyard while his wife and daughters remained in the house.

The Shaljian family's new home in Mount Sinai on May 27, 2011 (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

After Dorothy Schlosser, of the non-profit group Building Hope For Long Island, heard of the family’s plight, she decided to mobilize volunteers and organize contractors to get rid of the mold and bring the family back together in a new home.

In December, the Shaljian home was demolished and the family saw their new 2,200 square-foot home for the first time Friday.

“I’m overwhelmed, it’s beautiful. They did a beautiful job,” James Shaljian said. “It’s just incredible, I can’t believe it.”

“I’ve always loved my community, and I love them even more,” Christine Shaljian told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

The home includes four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.

Volunteers welcome home the Shaljian family in Mount Sinai on May 27, 2011 (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

“The house is a symbol of hope, and we prayed that James would be healed and that other communities would use this as a model to see how, in tough times like today, we could help each other out,” John Williams, co-founder of the group, said.

“There’s no way you can feel like you deserve this, I mean, there’s just no way,” James Shaljian said. “We’re so lucky, so lucky.”

“It’s way better than expected – I couldn’t believe it, I was overtaken with emotion,” Williams said.

Building Hope for Long Island was formed to help the Shaljian family and intends to continue the work for other needy families. Click here to find out how you can make a donation.

Comments (8)
  1. Robyn Ives Owens says:

    Congratulations James and family. Such a heart warming story.

  2. Robyn Ives Owens says:

    Heart warming story. congrats James. Glad to see you are able to all be together again.

  3. Charlie Licciardi says:

    GREAT NEWS! Glad to read it! Stay tough James, you deserve it. Wishing you all the best.

  4. Marcella Gilbert says:

    God is good… I wish the family all the best… God Bless

  5. Ellen Benedetto says:

    Great family courageous folks Honored to call them friends
    AMAZING volunteers

  6. sally rogers says:

    Awww I remember this story about how he couldn’t live in his own home. Nice to see such a happy follow up on that. Happy for him and his family!!

  7. Kevin says:

    There is goodness in the world!
    God bless those neighbors!

  8. Angel says:

    Thats great! Believe in GOD …. ALL things are possible

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