Foundation surprises 9-year-old leukemia patient with playset

Addison Rivera, a 9-year-old Leukemia patient, plays on a playset build in her back yard Saturday afternoon by volunteers from the Roc Solid Foundation. February 22, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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For 9-year old Addison Rivera, Saturday wasn’t a normal day. She woke up ready to take a ride in a limousine that would take her, her family and friends to eat breakfast, spend the afternoon doing fun activities and having lunch before heading back home.

What Addison did not know, was that the Roc Solid Foundation, which is based in Virginia, was building a playset in her own backyard to surprise her when she returned home.

Al Sesay-Benson volunteers with the Roc Solid Foundation to build a backyard playground for young Leukemia patient Addison Rivera Saturday afternoon. February 22, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“This is a way for children with cancer to experience playing on a playground when they don’t have the opportunity to go to the park since they’re susceptible to germs and bacteria that can make them sick,” said Gabriel Perez, director of programs for the foundation.

Addison was diagnosed with pre-b cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia two years ago, which can weaken her immune system due to her treatment.

Jennifer Ambrose and daughter Kenzie sign a playground set constructed for young leukemia patient Addison Rivera with an encouraging message Saturday afternoon. February 22, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Friends and family of Addison gathered to surprise her with her new playset. As they came, organizers with the foundation handed out markers, so they could write “words of encouragement” on the playset, to give it a personal touch.

Addison Rivera, a 9 year-old Leukemia patient, takes off her blindfold to see a playset build in her back yard Saturday afternoon by volunteers from the Roc Solid Foundation. February 22, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Once Addison returned home, she and her 7-year-old brother, Micah, were blindfolded and brought into the backyard where the playset was revealed.

Cheers of excitement and surprise came from Addison and her brother, and the friends and family which surrounded them. Addison, along with the other children, quickly jumped on the swings and climbed up to slide down the slide.

Addison Rivera, a 9 year-old Leukemia patient, plays on a playset build in her back yard Saturday afternoon by volunteers from the Roc Solid Foundation. February 22, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said Cassandra Rivera, Addison’s mother. “We feel like we’re not alone. Cancer can sometimes feel lonely. Addison can get tired so there are times where we miss out on things.”

The foundation provided a pizza lunch, coffee and doughnuts 

Addison will be completing her treatment and have the ability to “ring the infamous cancer bell” in December of this year, said Cassandra.

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