PEORIA, AZ — A Valley man is finally getting his dream come true, to host a massive holiday light display and showcase it to help ease his mind as manages a serious health battle.
"I've always loved Christmas. Growing up, my mom decorated at home in Miami,” said Darius Gilmore.
This time last year, Gilmore noticed his house on 93rd Lane in Peoria needed to step up its game.
"I saw someone else have a great and amazing display last year, you know? I talked to my wife about it,” added Gilmore.
Angie Gilmore listened.
"I was like, what? We can't afford that. No way,” said Angie Gilmore.
They came to an agreement, if he stayed free from COVID, she would give him a budget to do his own light show.
Both maintained during the pandemic. Months later, though, doctors diagnosed Darius Gilmore with cancer.
"I cried for a long time. We did not know what to expect. We did not know what it was,” said Angie.
"Once I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, my life was turned upside down,” added Darius.
Angie then decided it was only right to let Darius create his light show.
"I knew I had a lot to learn. I knew very little about this hobby," said Darius.
In February, Darius found a mentor to help design and program the show, spending over 2,000 hours over Zoom building and creating the display.
"He was so consistent and dedicated to the point where I was like, you can come back to the family now,” said Angie.
Gilmore spent about $5,000 over 10 months to hang more than 7,600 lights. All of it shocked his mentor.
"He's done very well. At times, I needed to say, you need to put on the brakes because you are going to have so many songs playing you won't have any for next year,” said Jeff Rutt.
All of this work, they say, was worth it to help Darius Gilmore cope with his cancer diagnosis.