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Appleton porch display dedicated to cancer patient brings joy to community

From the Local 5 Digital Desk

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – The date was March 26, 2020. The first day Sue Lee put up her one of her porch displays. It was also the first day her husband, Dave started daily trips to Milwaukee for his cancer treatments.

They started out pretty simple, a gorilla with a sign: “Be strong. Stay healthy.”

After that she started digging into storage to find other props to continue spreading some positivity to both her family and the community. Sue says she’s always had one rule of thumb: the props have to come from inside the house and the message has to pertain to COVID-19.

The signs have also been a positive distraction and message of hope for her husband Dave.

Last fall, Dave was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In March, he began his daily trips to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee for his radiation treatments. Always looking on the bright side, Dave says the pandemic made the traffic light and the gas cheap.

He has since completed his treatments and is feeling great. Dave says he has a lot of support from his family and community and now advocates for men to get tested for prostate cancer.

Sue’s porch displays have helped them both cope with the health challenges and from the neighborhood perspective, have been a hit from the beginning.

Family, friends, and neighbors look forward to seeing what Sue comes up with. She told Local 5 the pressure is on to keep coming up with ideas. She doesn’t think too much about each display until the day before adding, “I do my best work at 4 am.”

And how does she keep coming up with ideas? Sue says she starts by looking at her props and asks herself, ‘How can I connect this with COVID-19?’ and ties them in with old jokes.

She has embraced her new role as a point of light in the community. Sue says she will be continuing this new tradition for as long as she’s able, “If I can make someone smile, that’s wonderful.”

To enjoy Sue’s porch displays from your car, you can drive by 2101 N. Eugene Street in Appleton.

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