CHEERS to the 70 or so volunteers who swarmed through the home of Beverly’s Riley Fessenden last month for a transformative playroom makeover.

Seven-year-old Riley is battling a rare form of cancer called esthesioneuroblastoma, which begins in the nasal cavity and can spread to the brain. She is in the midst of radiation and chemotherapy, and the Beverly community has been rallying on her behalf for months.

The most recent volunteers were part of Special Spaces Boston, which brings together professional designers, electricians, contractors and others to create “dream rooms” for children with life-threatening illnesses.

The group usually does bedrooms. In this case, however, volunteers spent three days turning a room set aside for office and school work into a playroom for Riley and her three siblings. The room is accessed through a bookcase that hides a secret door. Inside, there are bunk beds, a Lego wall, a TV and a desk large enough for the brothers and sisters to do their homework.

“Riley’s mother, Kamie, said her kids were “shocked” at the transformation.

“The amount of support that our family has gotten is just overwhelming,” she told reporter Alan Burke. “I keep telling people, ‘Sometimes, it takes a village to raise a child, and we have a great village.’”

JEERS to email scammers targeting E-ZPass customers.

The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning that scammers are posing as E-ZPass in emails and claiming to collect unpaid tolls. The emails carry viruses that infect a computer and can open users up to identity theft.

The bogus emails use the correct E-ZPass colors and logo and are seeking to collect money from an unpaid toll. The message says the target has ignored previous bills and urges the individual to pay immediately by downloading an attached “invoice.”

Downloading the attachment installs a virus on the victim’s computer. The virus scans the computer for personal and banking information and can lead to identity theft.

Users can protect themselves by never opening attachments from unfamiliar sources. For more information, visit

Scammers make their livings by cheating others out of their hard-earned money. Always be wary of any solicitation seeking money or other financial information.

CHEERS to those on the North Shore and elsewhere taking the Ice Bucket Challenge on behalf of Beverly resident Pete Frates and his ongoing drive to raise awareness about — and money to combat — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no cure. Frates was diagnosed with the disease two years ago.

The Ice Bucket Challenge — for the few remaining people unfamiliar with it — has swept the region and the country, fueled by social media. Once someone has been ‘challenged’, they have 24 hours to post a video of themselves on Facebook or Twitter taking an ice water shower before passing on the challenge to others, often with a donation request of $10 to $100.

“It’s been like wildfire,” Nancy Frates, Pete Frates’ mother, told sports editor Phil Stacey last week. “It’s really been amazing to see. As I’ve been saying, we keep moving the needle and making people aware.”

Recent dousees have included Beverly Mayor Mike Cahill, state Sen. Joan Lovely, Salem City Councilor Heather Famico, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (like Frates, a graduate of Boston College, and several members of the Boston Bruins. A few Salem News staffers have even gotten in on the action.

They all deserve a pat on the soggy back. Alone, their willingness to look silly on the Internet doesn’t mean much. But united by the thousands, they paint a picture of a community that cares, and they send a message of hope that someday soon a deadly disease will meet its match.

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