CHIPPEWA FALLS — A nearly 1-year-old girl who has beaten cancer will have a new play set in her backyard, thanks to an organization that donates playground equipment.
More than 30 volunteers were on hand Thursday at a home in the town of Eagle Point, north of Chippewa Falls, installing the play set valued at $1,500, which was donated by Virginia-based Roc Solid Foundation.
Matt and Kelsie Dommer, parents of Ramsey Dommer, were stunned as they watched the playground equipment be erected in a matter of hours.
“We have some amazing people who came out today,” Kelsie Dommer said. “It just shows there is still good in the world.”
Matt Dommer said the play set was impressive.
“This would have taken me weeks to build,” he said.
When Ramsey Dommer was born on June 10, 2020, it was evident something was wrong. She had an unusually large belly, and she appeared jaundiced, or yellow-skinned. A scan showed she had a 9-centimeter-long mass on her liver. Doctors were quick to remove it.
“It was an intense biopsy,” Matt Dommer said.
“It took her a little longer for her to recover than expected,” added Kelsie Dommer. “Chances of it coming back, we’re told, is very slim.”
However, Ramsey is now home and healthy and cancer-free. Matt said she might have long-term hearing concerns because of chemotherapy.
Several months ago, the Dommers learned about Roc Solid Foundation, which provides play sets for children recovering from cancer.
“We were still in treatment,” Kelsie Dommer said. “Our social worker had an intern who knew about this foundation, and she asked if she could apply.”
Eric Newman, Roc Solid Foundation founder, said the nonprofit organization constructs play sets all over the country.
“This year, we will do 575. But this is our first one ever in Wisconsin,” Newman said.
Newman, 38, shares a June 10 birthday with Ramsey Dommer, but they have an even more special connection — Newman had the exact same type of liver cancer as a child as she does. Newman said he diagnosed when he was 3, and recovered shortly after age 5.
“I’m 32 years cancer-free,” Newman said. “So, I’m hope to this family what the future looks like.”
Newman said he believes in the power of playtime.
“We truly believe play defeats cancer; it doesn’t cure it,” Newman said. “When you are playing, you aren’t thinking about cancer.”
Newman’s group provided the equipment and lined up the volunteers, who all wore blue shirts that read “Build Hope.”
“Those T-shirts become part of the story,” Newman explained. “People ask them about what it means. It’s the power of community.”