The first things one will see when walking over the threshold of the deceptively large colonial home on Elm Arch Way and entering the sunny, open space of the living room are the hand-painted rainbow on the left wall, a striking white brick fireplace off to the right and a vivid mural of dripping paint that starts at the ceiling and streaks down, mixing into a pool of a hundred colors on the floor across the room.

With a second glance, one might start to notice the details that make up the backbone of the home and serve as the binding that brings this whole story together—like the big marquee letters hanging vertically next to the fireplace, spelling out NMO.

It stands for Not My Own, explained Timothy M. O’Connell, owner and chief organizer behind Tommy’s Place. The saying was something first mentioned by a couple from Ohio who sponsored the living room—each room in Tommy’s Place has a different sponsor who provided funding for the room and had a say in furniture and decoration—and the saying deeply resonated with the culture that Mr. O’Connell was working to instill in Tommy’s Place.

“Individually they both mentioned it to me, and it’s how they live their lives,” Mr. O’Connell said. “Their pastor had mentioned Not My Own in his sermon and it struck them so hard that it changed their lives. In essence, it means that nothing is truly ours, and everything we have is meant to be shared with others. Ironically, Tommy’s Place follows this same principle: this house is not any of ours; it’s ours to share with others.”

Standing at what was once the Elm Arch Inn, Tommy’s Place has been transformed into a vacation sanctuary for youngsters fighting cancer. Children, their families, care team and close friends can reserve the home for up to a week and stay free of charge. Complete with more than 10 bedrooms, an arcade, tavern, board game room, library, arts and crafts room, beach volleyball court, movie room, sprawling lawn and soon-to-be-installed pool, the vacation house has something to offer for every child and the child’s entire support system.

Mr. O’Connell bought the property from Peter B. Richardson in 2018. When remodeling began in August 2020, word spread that Tommy’s Place was seeking sponsors to help fund the project. It did not take long for an outpouring of support to come from hundreds of businesses and stores, both local and nationwide, along with individuals from across the globe looking to help in any way they could, Mr. O’Connell said.

Mr. O’Connell began posting on Facebook to update his following and he swears that each time it rained, he would find a new party looking to sponsor one of the house’s many rooms. When it comes to Tommy’s Place, he said, rain has been the savior.

But it was not always that easy. In the beginning, Mr. O’Connell nearly ran out of money trying to make this dream a reality. He had been saving money to pay off the mortgage, and one day decided he was just going to go for it.

“I just believed it would happen if I decided to do it,” he said.

Nearly one year after it began, remodeling of the home is nearing completion, and Tommy’s Place is almost ready to start housing families. Each room has a sponsor and has been painted, decorated and furnished with their input, along with help from various local artists and businesses. Rooms cost between $25,000 to $50,000 to sponsor, with some benefactors hailing from places as close as Quincy and New York and others from as far as Michigan, California and even Dubai. Adding to the undeniable charm of Tommy’s Place, each sponsor has a story to tell and did so through the medium that was their room: some tell stories about lost loved ones, some about survivors.

There is Gryfin’s Room, a disabled-accessible, Bruins-themed bedroom dedicated in memory of Gryfin Sawyer—a young boy who was the recipient of a dream vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, thanks to the generosity of Mr. O’Connell and served as the inspiration behind the idea to create Tommy’s Place. There’s Flossie’s Room, with a ceiling painted to look like the starry night sky complete with telescopes and space suits. The music room is stocked with an entire band’s worth of instruments. An entire room is inspired by 9-year-old Danny Sheehan of Marshfield, a Tommy’s Place ambassador who went viral for his excitement after receiving an action figure of his favorite superhero, Aquaman.

In the back there’s Tommy’s Tavern, which, like the house itself, is named after Falmouth Road Race founder Tommy Leonard, who was a personal friend of Mr. O’Connell’s before his death in 2019. Each bedroom has a theme: a luxury hotel, a Malibu sunset, a sailboat, a retro gas station. Colorful Adirondack chairs speckle the vast backyard. Every inch of wall is decorated or painted with murals, complying with Mr. O’Connell’s request to make the home feel like the furthest thing from a hospital or doctor’s office.

“I want people to feel like they’ve never been here before,” Mr. O’Connell said.

One of the finishing touches that Mr. O’Connell plans to add to the property is a public education park adjacent to the home. It will serve as a space for the public to come and learn about Tommy’s Place and the stories, ambassadors, sponsors and volunteers behind it.

“This is my way of giving back to everyone who helped us,” Mr. O’Connell said. “Everyone has a piece of this now.”

When Tommy’s Place is ready, there will be no grand opening.

“This is for people that are hurting; it’s not about any of us,” he said. “Even I feel like I’m intruding at this point because this home was repurposed to be shared by thousands of different families that are going through a difficult time. It’s their house now and it’s theirs to share with the world.”

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