A New Jersey man went on a mission to make people's lives brighter during the holiday season — a mission he vowed to take on when he was fighting for his own life.
Lozier Court in Paramus looks to be an average quiet suburban road, until the Russo house comes along. Christmas spills out of every crevice and every inch of the front lawn, with John Russo saying the wonderland of lights has become his life's work.
"I just fell in love with it. She fell in love with it, it just kept going. I kept buying more lights and put them up,'" he said.
The idea for the elaborate display came in 2014, on a dare of sorts. It was a promise Russo made to his girlfriend after getting diagnosed with throat cancer, as she told him when he survives, he should build a light show. And so he did.
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"It represents a long, hard fight. It was seven weeks of torture, with the chemo and radiation," Russo recalls.
Not only did Russo survive, but he’s had a clean bill of health every year since. That has meant he has added on a new feature every year, with this year adding a dancing penguin.
John works on it all year round, and he personally programmed all of the more than 12,000 lights to match a playlist that can be found on the radio. The whole display costs hundreds of dollars in electricity, not to mention the thousands he spent on the lights themselves. But he says it’s worth it.
Hundreds of cars show up on the weekends, with the only payment Russo asks for is a donation for Toys for Tots.
“I love it. I love it. I love listening to the kids outside screaming and yelling," Russo said.
A gift for his young neighbors, from a guy just happy he was given the gift of survival.