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.
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.
“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.