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Local Man Pays Back Non-Profit That Saved His Granddaughter's Life

PLAINFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- After a non-profit medical organization saved his granddaughter's life, a New Jersey man couldn't just send them a simple thank you letter.

Instead, he is turning a historic mansion into a designer show house to help out the group and the sick kids they care for, CBS2's Dick Brennan reported Monday.

Dan Reichard would do anything for his 10-year-old granddaughter, Grace Eline.

"He is one of my best friends," Grace said of her grandfather.

But last year, he learned the hard way that there are some things he can't protect her from.

"Grace was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer, so that's a phone call you don't want to get, believe me," Reichard said.

Grace's House
Grace's House (credit: CBSN New York)

When doctors found a germ cell tumor on her brain, Reichard said he knew it was up to the medical professionals at the Valerie Fund to step in as her protectors, and they did. The fund helps children with pediatric diseases and its resources helped cure Grace.

"We are insanely thankful for the Valerie Fund," said Aubrey Reichard-Eline, Grace's mother. "She has beaten a brain tumor, which is not something most people can say."

After that, Reichard said he couldn't just sit back.

"I have to give back. I have to pay back something for them doing that for my granddaughter," he said.

So he decided to turn a more than century-old Plainfield home he was working on flipping into "Grace's House."

It's a 7,000-square foot, eight-bedroom mansion that will soon be on display for everyone to view.

"Grace's House is very simply a show house, where designers are coming in, taking over the house and creating this amazing experience," said Barry Kirschner, the executive director of the Valerie Fund.

MOREGrace's House, Valerie Fund Creating New Place Of Healing

Twenty Tri-State Area designers donated to the cause and in return were given a room to decorate.

"In a project like this, it's really about giving back first," interior designer Blanche Garcia said.

All proceeds from the four-week showcase will go right to the Valerie Fund and help other kids like Grace, who are battling cancer and blood disorders.

"It's really taken on its own life, and it's all about the cause," Reichard said.

"It makes me feel very happy and honored that someone would do this for me," Grace added.

It's a designer show house that also shows a grandfather's love.

The open house will run from April to May and then the mansion will be sold. For more information on the open house and how to get involved with the Valerie Fund, please click here.

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