When a child is diagnosed with cancer, normal family activities are replaced with doctor’s appointments and treatments that leave kids with weak immune systems. Often, one of the first things a child loses is the ability to play.
In 2009, childhood cancer survivor Erick Newman created Roc Solid Foundation, as he was longing to find his purpose and a way to provide hope to other families going through what he and his family had experienced 22 years earlier.
Roc Solid Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides hope and joy in the form of backyard playsets to kids who are undergoing cancer treatment. A new playset not only provides a safe, germ-free place to play, but it also gives the family an escape from the reality of cancer and a way to create happy memories together.
A little warrior princess in Kennesaw received a playset build from the foundation in April. Mia is a 5-year-old “ball of light,” as her mimi and papa, Kim and Scot Philp, describe her. Mia was diagnosed with leukemia on Nov. 15, 2022, a day her parents, Noah and Jasmin Philp, will never forget. Mia currently is going through chemotherapy treatments, and while they are difficult, she still maintains a beautiful smile that would melt the coldest heart.
On April 28, Roc Solid Foundation and the sponsor team — 11 volunteers from Ark Restoration and six volunteers from Safelite GA — showed up for Mia’s playset build and were greeted by drizzling rain, but it didn’t dampen their joy or excitement. The rain soon disappeared, and a group of volunteers worked together to bring some sunshine the little girl’s way — building a simple playset that will give her a chance to forget cancer for a bit and just be a kid.
On the day of her build, Mia was in the hospital, with her mom by her side, due to complications from a recent chemotherapy treatment. But her papa, mimi, dad and Aunt Jaiden were on-site to tell the playset volunteers all about their little hero. They described her as “so beautiful and kind” and said if you know Mia, you love Mia. She is artistic and loves picnics, animals, Domino’s Pizza, the colors pink and purple (depending on the day), being outside, her trampoline, Barbies, Morgan Wallen and her dog, Behr. Mia is an only child, but ask her if she has any siblings, and her answer will be a brother, Behr, her German shepherd. She also will tell you she has two sisters (aunts), Jaiden and Zoey, and three other siblings, Bailey, Max and Koda, her grandparents’ dogs.
The completed playset was presented to Mia’s family members, who were so grateful and eager to see her reaction and excitement when she arrived home from the hospital. They shared photos of her getting home and seeing her new backyard playset, and her smile, when she saw it, was worth every second and more put into the build that day. And guess what Mia wasn’t thinking about at that moment — cancer!
Local businesses and groups can sponsor a backyard playset build for a child in their area. For more information, visit https://rocsolidfoundation.org.