Teen cancer survivor creates socially distant Halloween celebration to benefit Make-A-Wish

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)  – The pandemic means many haunted houses won’t be open this year including a special haunted house created by a Raleigh family, but the celebration will go on.  

Edward Thompson, 15, is a cancer survivor, and every year his haunted house raises money to help other families with a sick child. This year he and his family are creating a haunted yard so people can drive by and see the decorations safely.  

The Thompson family did everything from a safe distance since the pandemic started.  “This is one of the first times I’ve actually seen a human face, not through a camera or a screen,” Edward said.

“He is high risk for COVID,” his mom, Sarah Thompson explained.  

Every year Edward looks forward to creating a haunted house, a tradition that started after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2017.

“It’s one of the things that keeps me going. It’s great motivation,” he said. 

Unfortunately, inviting people inside isn’t safe right now.

At first, Edward was disappointed. Then the young man, who once drew haunted house plans from his hospital bed, realized he and his family could still create something special.  

“It’s so much fun, not just for me, but also for the community, and it’s a great way to give back,” said Edward.  

They’re collecting donations for Make-A-Wish, the organization that sent them to Disney World after Edward’s cancer treatment.  

“It felt like you were being yourself like you were free. It felt like you were happy; it’s amazing,” he recalled of his trip.  

“To have that joy and the hope and the memories, it’s extremely important,” added his mom.  

Make-A-Wish had to put travel on hold due to the pandemic, but the Thompsons hope any donations collected can help other families make memories. They understand that not everyone who drives by can donate.

“It’s a hard year for everyone,” noted Sarah. 

The Halloween celebration is definitely different than previous years, but they hope their spooky scene will bring some Halloween fun to the community — whether a scream or a smile.  

“It’s just a heartwarming feeling to see that it’s doing what it was designed to do,” said Edward. “It’s still giving people happiness.”   

You can see the haunted yard from October 23-31 from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. at 9401 S. Mere Ct. in Raleigh.

You can find more information here.

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