Neighbors use Christmas lights to remember cancer victim

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Knightdale community’s Christmas light display was all started to help remember a neighbor who lost her battle with cancer.

Tami Sakiewicz spends days decorating the outside of her home for Christmas.

“It wouldn’t be Christmas without a hundred people in my backyard every night,” said Sakiewicz.

Her home is on what is now known as the “Planters Walk light trail” in Knightdale.

Maylon Smith
Maylon Smith

“Every year we add more. It’s like competition and it’s also pressure,” said Becky McConkey, who lives a few doors down from Sakiewicz.

The trail of lights was inspired by their neighbor Maylon Smith.

“Everybody enjoys it,” said Smith. “You see the little kids coming down the walk and one of them asked if I was Santa Claus.”

Smith has been decking his front and backyard for the past 15 years.

It takes him weeks to complete his elaborate display.

“I enjoy it all cause night time turns it all real great,” said Smith.

Every yard tells a different story, but they are all inspired by Smith’s.

Five years ago, his wife, Janice, lost her battle with breast cancer.

“We participate in it for her. For him,” said Sakiewicz. “He started it and we like to think every Christmas she can see us shining brightly from heaven.”

“I think it is bright enough she can see it up there now,” said Smith.

The lights stay up from Thanksgiving until New Years from 5:30 to 11 each night.

Anyone interested in seeing the light display should head to Lynnwood Drive in Knightdale. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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