South Jersey family blessed with renovated home for son battling cancer

Luke DeFilippo was diagnosed with a rare terminal cancer called ATRT, which is in his kidneys. He's now in hospice care.

Monday, December 6, 2021
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Luke DeFilippo, who is non-verbal, was diagnosed with a rare terminal cancer called ATRT, which is in his kidneys. He's now in hospice care.

AUDUBON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Luke DeFilippo from Audubon, New Jersey is a living miracle.

When he was one-and-a-half years old, doctors told the family he didn't have much longer to live after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

Luke, the youngest of four boys, defied the odds after years of undergoing chemotherapy.

Sadly, just as the family was starting to get into a routine with Luke attending a school for special needs, the DeFilippo family received another dire prognosis.

"In October, I got a call from school and they said, 'you're going to need to pick him up, he's bleeding,'" recalled Luke's mother, Laura DeFilippo.

Luke, who is non-verbal, was diagnosed with a rare terminal cancer called ATRT, which is in his kidneys. He's now in hospice care.

"It means he's going home soon. I have to be joyful about that. I have to be thankful for the years we've had," said his mom. "I know my heart will be broken."

Despite life's many ups and downs, the DeFilippos have received an outpouring of support from their South Jersey community.

For the last three years, there's been a movement called "Room For Luke." Neighbors rallied together and put on many fundraisers in addition to a GoFundMe account.

The money is helping the family renovate their home so his mother, Luke's caregiver, can be more efficient in their multi-level house.

Luke cannot be unattended so she really needed an upstairs laundry room and play area for Luke.

"There was one couple that gave their stimulus check for the fund Room for Luke," said neighbor Peggy Slack-McGovern.

While neighbors raised more than $80,000, a huge help came from contractors willing to do the work pro-bono.

The support is huge for the DeFilippos who have a lot on their plate. In addition to Luke's struggles, his father is now battling dementia.

The family is hoping that they can get into their home as early as the end of January. The biggest concern is that Luke makes it long enough to enjoy the home given time is of the essence.

For more information on Room For Luke, click here.