Nicole Curtis had an ulterior motive in hosting Sunday's open house for Ransom Gillis, the 1876 Brush Park home she's been restoring since June. The HGTV star and host of The Rehab Addict wanted to raise money for 7-year-old Tessa Prothero's cancer treatments. The Royal Oak girl's father, Bobby Prothero, is a carpenter and got to know Curtis while working on one of her local houses. The open house, which Curbed documented with photo spreads this week, drew over 2000 people, according to Curtis, each of whom were asked to donate $5 for Tessa's treatment.
"Tessa was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma two years ago," her mother, Karin Prothero told Curbed. "She has been fighting aggressively ever since with very little response to any treatment. We've had to transfer her care to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC, where they have many more options for different trials." Curtis might have held the open house later, when she thought Ransom Gillis more ready for media attention, if not for her desire to help the Prothero family.
A message on Curtis' Facebook page Monday, since removed, explained. "While we appreciate everyone applauding our work when you come through, that wouldn't be enough to motivate us to dedicate the time. [H]owever, knowing how much love we can send one family's way by doing so? So worth it." The Prothero family's crowdfunding page sells $20 t-shirts to help offset the costs of her care, and other efforts have included a rummage sale at Tessa's elementary school.
AS for Tessa herself, her mother said open house day will be a treasured memory for the family. "Tessa loved the open house. She absolutely loves Nicole and wants to see her again," Karin Prothero said. "She loved the house and the crowds of people." Prothero feels huge gratitude for Curtis' support. "We were floored," she said. "It was an amazing surprise. She is such a generous person and we love her."
Rehab Addict: Detroit debuts with Ransom Gillis House episodes Thursday at 9 p.m. on HGTV.
·Ransom Gillis Open House Draws Massive Crowd [Curbed Detroit]
·Garage sale to help family's fight against student's cancer [C&G Newspapers]
·Team Tessa: Battle Against Neuroblastoma [Booster]