WOODSTOCK, Ga. (CBS46) – The Woodstock community, and beyond, has rallied around a 17-year-old girl undergoing treatment for cancer.
Ever since Ellie Draughon was little, she wanted her house covered in Christmas lights. With her house completely surrounded by trees, it would take far too many lights to make it bright enough to see it from the street.
But thanks to family, friends, and the community, her dream has become a reality.
Her family surprised her and raised enough money to cover nearly 75 trees and nearly 15,000 lights!
“My whole life I wanted to go all out for Christmas,” Ellie Draughon said.
The Draughon family always decorated and had a few lights for Christmas, but nothing like this.
Ellie, a senior in high school, is currently going through treatments for bone cancer. After suffering from leg pain at the beginning of this year, they went to the doctor for an x-ray in June.
“They came right back and said she had bone cancer, and we were completely not expecting that,” said her mom, Brynn. “For a few days we were kind of in shock, and as it soaks in, the reality of it, it’s tough.”
So, after a tough few months, Ellie’s mom wanted to do something special.
“My mom and one of her good friends set up a GoFundMe page and raised money so we could hire a company to come and do a bunch of lights,” Ellie said.
“Every time in the hospital when she’d be upset, or going through a hard time with her chemo, she’d want to talk about Christmas with me, and I just remembered that her whole life she’d always wanted to have a lot of lights in the yard,” Brynn said.
Brynn decided this was the year to do it. She raised $8,000 through a fundraiser and had an overwhelming response.
“We had so many people reach out that said they wanted to help, and we were trying to think of a way that people could, even friends at school who donated like ten dollars that go to school with her, this was a way everyone felt like they could help,” said Brynn.
And her friend found a company, Abulous Lighting, who provided the lights at cost.
“You can see it from a distance, because there are almost 75 trees lit,” added Brynn.
“They went like 15 feet up on the trees and it was all covered in lights, and it’s really beautiful,” said Ellie.
The first night 15,000 lights were up was the first time Ellie felt true joy since she was diagnosed.
“When you drive up, and you can see it all, it’s so pretty,” Ellie said, “It was kind of amazing, it just touched my heart, it was really sweet, I didn’t expect it at all.”
“I just knew that it would make her really happy, it’s been really rough, she’s been on chemo since July, she just had surgery in September,” Brynn added.
“It’s just like a winter wonderland,” said Ellie.
Since their fund went way over the amount needed for the lights, they donated what was left, about $3,500, to CURE to raise awareness for childhood cancer.