When Hannah Rye returned to her family home after a trip to visit relatives in New Zealand, she was greeted with a gift like no other.
The Mount Vincent teenager, who was struck down with the aggressive cancer Ewing’s Sarcoma, was greeted with the most magical back yard transformation courtesy of her local community.
Hannah underwent a grueling 12 months of intense chemotherapy.
She had been cleared of active cancer for only five months before her Ewing's Sarcoma returned.
Friend and backyard makeover coordinator Annette Wade said many people were touched by Hannah’s story and rallied together to help.
The idea was to raise spirits and funds to help ease the Rye family burden, while Hannah’s dad has time off work to spend with her.
“I asked Rachael, Hannah's mum, what I could do and she asked if I could help make the entry way into their home more wheelchair safe,” Ms Wade said.
The group quickly got to work while the family was overseas to complete the surprise makeover.
They started when the family left on June 9 and were finishing the final touch-ups on Friday.
The home’s garden was spruced up, the front deck was completely rebuilt, a deck was built off Hannah’s room, and new table and chairs were installed.
Ms Wade said community funding also helped pay for the family’s accommodation and airfares to New Zealand.
“This has been a project that has been undertaken by the local community with the help of local businesses including Bunnings Cessnock who donated a lot of wood for the new decking,” Ms Wade said.
Ms Wade said Hannah was overwhelmed when she saw the new-look back yard late on Friday night.
“She was very thankful,” Ms Wade said.
She said the whole Rye family could not believe their eyes when they first saw the transformation.
“They kept turning on the light making sure it was still there,” Ms Wade said.