Cancer kept this 3-year-old indoors. Now he's seeing the world for himself

Young boy finally gets his chance to see the world

Weymouth, Massachusetts — Aside from immediate family, no one was allowed in the house to see 3-year-old Quinn Waters of Weymouth, Massachusetts. And more importantly — Quinn wasn't allowed out.

"We basically keep him in a bubble just as a precaution," said Quinn's father, Jarlath. 

"Even a common cold could be something that will bring him back into the hospital," said Quinn's mother, Tara. 

Parents Jarlath and Tara Waters say Quinn's natural immunity was temporarily wiped out after he got a stem cell transplant to treat his brain cancer.

Fortunately, the kid is a fighter – and as we first reported a few months ago, he kept a mostly positive attitude.

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Quinn Waters' neighbors' visiting him.  CBS News

But it still stunk.

He sees all of this happening and he knows he's stuck inside. And there would be days when Quinn was literally pounding to get out.

Unfortunately, staring out a window is a poor substitute for walking out a door. Quinn's connection to the outside world has been limited to whoever passes by, which hasn't been all that limiting, actually.

"It started out with family members coming to the window," said Jarlath. 

Then the neighbors started showing up to entertain — the police caught wind — and pretty soon topnotch performers were just showing up on Quinn's front lawn.

It turned into a vaudeville stage out there. 

"Yeah, the window kind of became his window on the world," Jarlath said. 

It got so you never knew what might happen by. One minute it could be a dog parade — the next, a team of Irish step dancers — everyone brought together by word of mouth and a will to help Quinn get better.

Which his parents say — did start happening.

"It's the positive energy from all these people that we believe has gotten him through his sickness, you know. You can never repay, you know (emotional), just maybe pay it forward," Jarlath said. 

Being indebted never felt so fortunate.

After this story first aired in August, things got even better for Quinn — light-years better. By Halloween, doctors had released him from home confinement — and free to be a kid again — he rushed outdoors at warp speed.

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Quinn Waters at a Massachusetts beach.  Tara Waters

He also got to drop the puck at a Boston Bruins' game — and feel the sand between his toes at the Massachusetts shore.

There is no greater curse than cancer – but no greater blessing, than beating it.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com.    

  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.