Teen lights up ribbon for grandmother, cancer awareness (Video)
Dec. 22, 2011 at 6:22 a.m.
Updated Dec. 23, 2011 at 6:23 a.m.
The Christmas lights outside the Lienemann home are more than just another arrangement of decorations brightening up the winter holiday.
The story is in the set of pink lights on the roof that form a giant cancer awareness ribbon that mirror the woman living inside the home.
The woman, Dorothy Lenertz, is a 71-year-old with a soft smile and pink-kissed rosy cheeks that gleam as much as the decoration her grandson created for her.
Lenertz is battling cancer for the second time in 30 years; and though her prognosis is uncertain, the lights give her feelings of hope and peace.
Brett Lienemann has slowly watched his grandmother weaken from the cancer that has spread from her breasts, into her hip and into her brain.
Lienemann, 19, lives with his parents and decided creating a ribbon for all to see was something he just had to do.
"I'd never seen anybody do that," he said about what he designed. "I just started on it."
The ribbon isn't the only thing Lienemann has done to support his grandmother's battle with cancer.
When he turned 18 last year, he tattooed his wrist with a pink ribbon and his grandmother's favorite song, "Walk of Life," by the Dire Straits.
About 30 years ago, his grandmother fought breast cancer. But this time around, her battle has been much more difficult.
She has had 20 radiation treatments to the brain and 15 treatments to the hip. She is also on her third round and third type of chemotherapy.
Despite the treatments, she has pushed on and now lives in the Lienemann home.
Her son, Mark Lienemann, Brett's father, wanted her to move into the home to make her feel more comfortable.
"I've got such a beautiful family," she said, as her family stood in her bedroom. "I really do."
Lighting Up The Street
Several weeks ago, the younger Lienemann climbed on top of the roof and began working on the ribbon.
It took several attempts to measure it out just right, but the important thing is his grandmother was there to see the design come to life.
"It was very emotional," she said, choking up a bit. "I'm so proud of him. I've been very lucky."
The ribbon has garnered some attention from passers-by.
The family have seen cars slow down and admire the ribbon and they even had one girl walk up to the house and snap a photo with her phone.
The other white lights on the house complement the ribbon well.
Though Lienemann's grandmother now spends most of her time inside, just knowing that ribbon is right above her makes her smile.
"If God took me tomorrow, I would just count the blessings I have," she said, tearing up, staring at her family. "Yes, I know I have a wonderful family."