Diagnosed with cancer, he decided to transform his garden: an inspiring lesson with stunning results

Sometimes we get the feeling that there is such a thing as fate. It seems to have been the case for Darius Stevens, who had an extremely rough time, starting when he was on the bring of his forties in 2014. It wasn’t enough that he lost his job and all his money because of poor business investments and unemployment, but he noticed unusual marks on his skin, which ended up alerting him to the fact that he had skin cancer, which was diagnosed shortly afterwards. With morale at an all time low, simply looking at his garden made him feel even worse. Depressing and empty, it seemed to echo how Darius felt his life was going.

But despite the multiple difficulties he was facing, Darius mustered up his courage, reminding himself that people have been through worse, and that he was lucky to be the proud father of two beautiful, healthy children, to be married to a wife who was always there for him, and to have fantastic friends. Recognising this, and wanting to surprise his family, he launched himself into a project: to build an amazing play area for his children and a corner where he and his wife could exercise and watch over their lovely daughters. After hours of searching on Pinterest for inspiration, and looking for ways of procuring materials (such as asking his friends to give him wood for his birthday), he offered his partner a dream holiday -5 days in New York -to give him the time to start his project, and surprise her when she got back. (In fact, when he hadn’t finished after 5 days, he even convinced her to take a few more days holidays).

He was just back from dropping her to the airport, when he found the wood he needed waiting for him, and he set to work, aided by his beautiful assistants: his two daughters took care of the cleaning, the paining and most importantly, they kept cheering him on! It took him around 10 days to finish this almost titanic task and create the children’s hut, the garden, the pergola and more, all the while looking after the kids, taking care of his health and doing manual work for other people to finance the project. The result: a completely transformed recreation area which reflected his new attitude to life. As he wrote in his blog, “The kids love their new space. My wife loves our backyard. And I feel strangely satisfied. It felt good to build this. It sort of gave me a renewed verve for keeping going. Pursuing my dreams and taking the struggle that comes with that in stride.”


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The prototype, inspired by ideas found on Pinterest

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The results

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