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Diman students build playhouse for Dartmouth boy who battled leukemia

Diman students and staff with the shed

Carter Wheeler looks over some of the toys inside his new custom shed with his dad Mike.The custom car themed shed was built
Carter Wheeler looks over some of the toys inside his new custom shed with his dad Mike.The custom car themed shed was built by students at Diaman Regional Voc-Tech in Fall River. David W. Oliveira

Bruce Kleinschmidt and Jerry Boie from Move My Shed.com set up Carter Wheeler's custom shed onto a wheeled skid to move it to
Bruce Kleinschmidt and Jerry Boie from Move My Shed.com set up Carter Wheeler's custom shed onto a wheeled skid to move it to its final spot in his backyard. David W. Oliveira

Mike Wheeler looks on as Bruce Kleinschmidt from Move My Shed.com moves his son Carter's, custom shed to its final spot in hi
Mike Wheeler looks on as Bruce Kleinschmidt from Move My Shed.com moves his son Carter's, custom shed to its final spot in his backyard. David W. Oliveira

Bruce Kleinschmidt and Jerry Boie from Move My Shed.com set up Carter Wheeler's custom shed onto its final spot in his backya
Bruce Kleinschmidt and Jerry Boie from Move My Shed.com set up Carter Wheeler's custom shed onto its final spot in his backyard. David W. Oliveira

Stephanie Wheeler shows her son Carter a safety vest at his new custom shed. The custom car themed shed and gas pump was buil
Stephanie Wheeler shows her son Carter a safety vest at his new custom shed. The custom car themed shed and gas pump was built by students at Diaman Regional Voc-Tech in Fall River. David W. Oliveira
Carter Wheeler explains one of his new toys to his mom Steph outside his new custom shed. The custom car themed shed was buil
Carter Wheeler explains one of his new toys to his mom Steph outside his new custom shed. The custom car themed shed was built by students at Diman Regional Voc-Tech in Fall River. David W. Oliveira

Audrey Cooney - The Herald News

DARTMOUTH — A Dartmouth boy who’s spent much of his life battling cancer received a special surprise on Thursday: a custom-built playhouse designed and constructed by students at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School.

“This means a lot for our family,” said Stephanie Wheeler. “It’s really the thought that counts, and we’re just so appreciative that everyone is taking time to do this for us.”

Wheeler’s son, Carter, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just 9 months old. After completing his initial round of treatment, he had a relapse at age 2 and underwent a bone marrow transplant, which required him to quarantine indoors for nine months because of his weakened immune system.

More:‘Christmas Night for Carter’ at G&S Pizza to help child battling Leukemia

Now Carter is 5, and doing well, his mother said. Their dozen doctor appointments a month have now been reduced to a few a year, and he’s looking forward to starting kindergarten this September.

“He’s thriving. He’s still playing catch-up, but he’s getting to be a normal kid,” Wheeler said.

After going through so much at a young age, Carter was selected to participate in Project Playhouse, a program run by Bryant University and Rhode Island nonprofit Rosemary’s Wish Kids to provide custom-built playhouses for children with serious illnesses.

On Thursday, Project Playhouse delivered three playhouses to children in Rhode Island along with Carter’s. Students at area vocational technical schools, including Diman, were responsible for every aspect of building them, from the initial design concepts to the actual construction.

Wheeler said the organization asked the family for three topics Carter is interested in and didn’t tell them which theme they chose for the playhouse, to make it a surprise. Diman students produced a house fashioned to look like a mechanic’s garage, perfect for a boy with a big love for cars like Carter.

“He loves cars, any kind of vehicle, anything from a motorcycle to construction vehicles. Anything that rides and drives and makes noise, he’s all for it,” Wheeler said. "We're all pretty excited."

Carter Wheeler looks over the custom made gas pump with his dad Mike and mom Steph. The pump and shed was made by the student
Carter Wheeler looks over the custom made gas pump with his dad Mike and mom Steph. The pump and shed was made by the students at Diaman Regional Voc-Tech in Fall River. David W. Oliveira
Carter Wheeler's dad Mike points out to him his new custom shed as his mom Steph looks on. The custom car themed shed was bui
Carter Wheeler's dad Mike points out to him his new custom shed as his mom Steph looks on. The custom car themed shed was built by students at Diaman Regional Voc-Tech in Fall River. David W. Oliveira
Carter Wheeler gets a first look at his new custom shed with his dad Mike.The custom car themed shed was built by students at
Carter Wheeler gets a first look at his new custom shed with his dad Mike.The custom car themed shed was built by students at Diaman Regional Voc-Tech in Fall River. David W. Oliveira
Mom Steph checks to see if her son Carter Wheeler is happy with his toys and new custom shed. The custom car themed shed was
Mom Steph checks to see if her son Carter Wheeler is happy with his toys and new custom shed. The custom car themed shed was built by students at Diaman Regional Voc-Tech in Fall River. David W. Oliveira