KINKORA — It was a ghoulish, gruesome and frightening effort aimed at helping a neighbour in need.
© Submitted photo
Harrison Duffy (second left), along with his siblings Landon (left) and Maura and friend Shaelynn McCardle (right), along with their friends, spent weeks turning their Kinkora home into a haunted house. Admission was charged at the door and the proceeds donated to their neighbour who is currently battling cancer.
Friday night, 11-year-old Harrison Duffy’s haunted house opened its doors to the public for one night only.
But, in order to be scared by the ghosts, goblins, vampires and zombies that lurked within the Kinkora home, visitors were asked to leave a donation, with all proceeds going to Harrison’s neighbour, Gerard Gaudet, who is currently battling cancer.
“My neighbour was really sick with cancer and we wanted to raise some money to help get him better. He’s like our best friend,” said Harrison. “He lets us borrow stuff, tools or wagons if we ever need them.”
He added, “Everyone knows Gerard so well and he is well-known in the community. He’s extremely nice.”
Close to 200 people went through the doors of the Anderson Road home, donating $1,000 at last count, an amount that Harrison’s father, Robert, before the haunted house opened, promised to match.
Harrison and his siblings, Maura and Landon, along with their friends, spent almost a month converting their home’s garage and backyard into the frightening scene.
“We did it after school for a couple of hours everyday,” said Harrison of the effort. “We had a vampire hospital and there was a vampire doing a surgery on a little boy and the surgery didn’t go so well and they turned him into a vampire.”
Harrison, who admitted he isn’t a fan of scary movies, does love to decorate for Halloween. In the front yard of his home, to mark this scary time of year, there’s a makeshift graveyard, also the result of the young boy’s efforts.
And, at Christmas and almost every other holiday, he helps decorate.
“We really like to decorate at our house,” said Harrison, who also converted the home into haunted house last year for Halloween. “I do all the decorating myself.”
Mom, Karen, said Harrison’s haunted house delivered, prompting mostly adults to scream as they passed through its varied and themed rooms, and collecting more donations than they expected.
She’s proud of Harrison’s efforts and humbled by his selflessness.
“He came up with the idea, with his sister and brother, that they would raise the money for Gerard. His wife has taken time off work to care for him,” said Karen. “It is extremely selfless. Even once or twice someone else mentioned ‘if we make enough money, maybe we will keep enough for ourselves’ and Harrison kept saying ‘no, it all goes to Gerard.”
Harrison and his siblings delivered the proceeds from the haunted house to Gerard and his wife, Jean, Sunday, and will drop off the $1,000 cheque that his father promised in the coming days.
“Whenever we brought it over to Jean… she was really, really, really happy.”