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Small comforts

On the first day in his new playhouse, 4-year-old Latham resident Will Armstrong is going to throw a party with gummy bears and Capri Sun.

Will, who was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago, was one of eight children chosen by doctors to receive a playhouse built and donated by employees of VersaTrans Solutions, a company that provides software that helps school officials come up with cost effective ways to transport pupils.

It's ironic because tomorrow, two years ago, he was diagnosed with leukemia, said Will's mother, Angie Armstrong. "So we're usually sad on that day, but this year we will have something to be happy about. So we'll have a party in the house."

She said Will's little sister is excited about the playhouse, too.

Armstrong said Will's health is improving, and she hopes the playhouse will bring him some happiness despite the treatments he has undergone.

The playhouse-building project, according to Director of Client Relations for VersaTrans Terri Fallon, was decided upon at the company's annual meeting when management was brainstorming a community service event that would involve the company's sizable staff.

"Every year we do a different community service event," said Fallon. "We've grown to about 80 people now, and it's hard to find a charity that will welcome us."

VersaTrans President Douglas Hamlin, who serves on the Foundation Board at Albany Medical Center, said someone suggested at the meeting that the group build playhouses for children undergoing cancer treatment at the Center for Children With Cancer and Blood Disorders in the Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center.

Hamlin said the suggestion met the criteria for the company's community outreach project, which requires that the company do something that benefits families throughout the Capital District.

Fallon also said the project went along with the company's theme for this year: building.

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