WESTFIELD, NJ — This Saturday’s episode of NBC’s home improvement show “George to the Rescue” will feature the Lederman family of Westfield. Darren Lederman died after a battle with Leukemia last March, leaving behind his wife, Warren teacher Stacey Katcher Lederman and children Emma and Noah.
“George to the Rescue,” starring George Oliphant, provides house renovation projects to people in need. During Darren’s illness, the family had moved in with Stacey's parents, where they still live today. For the Ledermans, volunteers, including Downtown Westfield company Michael Robert Construction, worked with the show’s team to renovate and redesign the children’s and Stacey’s bedrooms, among other improvements.
“Darren was on hospice in my bedroom and that is where he passed away,” Stacey Lederman said. “It was important to my parents for me to have a new beginning. There are many heartbreaking memories in my old bedroom, and my parents and the team from ‘George to the Rescue’ wanted me to have a new place where new memories could be made.”
Speaking at Tuesday’s town council meeting, Ellie Mroz of Michael Robert Construction said, “It’s sure to be a heartwarming episode.”
Lederman said she is thankful to all of the people who made the project happen.
“So many people who we have never met, in addition to my daughter's second grade teacher and dance instructor, who heard about the opportunity and wanted to work their magic behind the scenes. It was a true surprise for Emma,” she said.
“When Darren was first diagnosed with the debilitating disease, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, he never wanted any attention brought our way,” Lederman said. “He always said that there are many sick people in this world and people are who more sick than him. He never wanted anyone to worry about him or to make a big deal about his situation. This is how my parents and I felt when we found out that we were chosen to be on the show. But the show's producers helped us realize that Darren's battle and fight were traumatic and that what we all went through, no one should ever experience. My children have had to grow up very fast and they have gone through more in their short lives than most people will ever go through in their entire lifetime.
“This experience was difficult and very emotional at times,” she continued. “Seeing my kids cry, break down and hearing all of us talk about Darren breaks your heart. Yet it also brought us comfort, peace, smiles and laughter as we move forward in life. My family and I are constantly reminded of the bravery, selflessness and courage Darren showed each and every day for 10 years. His legacy continues to inspire us and everyone around us. My hope is that Darren's story will live on forever and that, in turn, my family will continue to make a difference in the world.”
As amazing as this opportunity with “George to the Rescue” was, Lederman said, “The reality is it happened because my children lost their dad and I lost my husband. My dream and hope is that every person who reads this article, follows my Facebook page or watches ‘George to the Rescue’ will donate to cancer organizations like Stomp the Monster and get swabbed through bone marrow registries like Deleteblood.org or Be the Match.”
The show will air on WNBC New York on Saturday at 9:30 a.m., again at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 12:30 a.m.