Dream Vacation Home for Kids Battling Cancer Opens Second Location


Credit: Tommy's Place

Tim O’Connell, founder of “Tommy’s Place,” a free vacation home for kids battling cancer, is opening a second location in Massachusetts to bring the magical experience to more children and their families, according to the Cape Cod Times. Tommy’s Place gives sick children and their families an opportunity to escape their daily routine and have an amazing experience surrounded by colorful artwork and recreational activities where their imagination takes them above and beyond. Dedicating his work to building Tommy’s Place, O’Connell is continuing to expand his business of making dreams come true.

Tommy’s Place welcomed their first family in July 2021, but the idea began long before that in 2007 when a tenant who was supposed to rent one of O’Connell’s Martha’s Vineyard properties for one week canceled at the last minute. Instead of giving the week to a friend, O’Connell drove to Tufts Children’s Hospital in Boston to inquire whether one of their patients would like to take the vacation with their family instead. Grifyn Sawyer, a young cancer patient, and his family accepted the offer and he was able to have an experience of a lifetime. Grifyn passed away before O’Connell could meet him, but the Sawyer family expressed their gratitude for giving Grifyn the incredible experience that made him smile more than ever. Their experience made O’Connell want to do more, and thus began the construction of an official vacation home for sick children known as Tommy’s Place. 

Offering an experience of a lifetime, Tommy’s Place surrounds children with colorful artwork, games, music, a theater, a swimming pool, sports facilities, themed rooms, and much more to give them a chance to forget their worries and have fun. The second location in Centerville will have ten bedrooms and include a recreation room, a movie theater, and an outdoor playhouse among other features. O’Connell expects to close on the building, which was formerly the Fernbrook Inn, in June for $2.5 million, and anticipates using an additional $1 million for renovations. Tommy’s Place is made possible only by donations. So far, they have raised $1.5 million for the new building.

Since officially opening in July 2021, the original Tommy’s Place has hosted 45 families and is booked into 2024. Named after O’Connell’s late friend, Tommy Leonard, who was the founder of Falmouth Road Race, Tommy’s Place honors his legacy by bringing fun and laughter to the community. Welcoming children fighting cancer and their families to stay at Tommy’s Place at no charge, O’Connell is an inspiration to his community and others whom he encourages to help give these children the experience of a lifetime. 


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