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When Thompson woman left town for cancer treatment, neighborhood volunteers remodeled her home

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THOMPSON, N.D. — House projects; some of us like them and others will put them off as long as possible.

This week, WDAZ-TV met a community of gems who pulled off a house project like no other.

As cars drive down the main drag through Thompson, some may call it “The Highway of Love.”

“I grew up in Minneapolis and when my wife wanted to move to Thompson, I was very hesitant to be here,” Dean Larimer said.

But now there is no other place Dean would rather live with his wife Kerri-Lynn, and their two boys, Trey and Malek.

“I’m very grateful, proud to be a member of this community, the support the love and care,” Larimer said.

People of all ages in Thompson consider the school teacher and social service worker their idols.

“Dean and Kerri-Lynn have such an influence on the younger generation,” said family friend Nathan Berich.

Now the community is rallying around the Larimer family for a much different reason.

“That's why when the text went out I knew I wanted to be a part of this,” Berich said.

Kerri-Lynn is in the fight of her life. The 44-year-old has been battling melanoma for nearly a year.

Two weeks ago she left for the Mayo Clinic to undergo more treatment.

The community saw this as a time to give back to the family who has given so much to Tommie Country.

“Let's make it a great place to come home to, bright and peaceful,” said Gina Roller, Kerri-Lynn’s best friend.

So her best friend sent this text to about 20 people trying to rally people to replace the floor in Kerri-Lynn’s home while she was gone. It was something she really wanted, but getting it done was hard with her treatment.

The response from the town of one thousand was unexpected.

“People just kept coming, and coming and coming," Roller said. "People who weren't involved in the group text heard from other people and they would come."

Nearly 75 community members spent the week getting dirty, sometimes working until four in the morning.

That doesn't include the University of Minnesota Crookston baseball team putting down their bats and gloves for a day to help. The couple's son Trey plays on the team.

“There was no bickering. Everybody got along. It's almost like it a crew that had been working together; a well-oiled machine, for years,” Berich said.

In the end, the floors got done, but so did so much more. The bathroom was gutted, the walls were repainted, trim was added, light fixtures were replaced, a new furnace was installed, the yard was cleaned up and electricians added more outlets.

“If this was a project I was doing it would take a couple of years, and I would have to hire someone to do it because I just can't fix anything,” Larimer said.

Altogether the bill totaled close to nine-thousand dollars — all materials and labor free of charge.

“I would call it our dream home for my wife and I. It's what she wanted,” Larimer said.

“Something special," Berich said. "You don't see this happen a lot.”

So as Kerri-Lynn Larimer continues the fight of her life, she will do it in her dream home — a home enclosed with love and care from the community who loves and cares for her so much.

“I think it's helped a lot knowing this is a place she will spend the rest of her life and that she will be here and be in peace and she got to see and have the house she always wanted,” Larimer said.

A GoFundMe page has also been setup for the family to help cover medical costs and trips to the Mayo Clinic. Click here to make a donation.

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