Person with brittle bone disease given a new lease of Extreme Makeover: House Edition


By now, my readers probably understand the importance perseverance and positive attitude have on our life. It’s become a important theme in my life as well as many others with disabilities. No matter how often I come upon it, I continue to be amazed at the number of people who are speaking boldly because of disability, NOT in spite of it. It’s those people that prove on a daily basis that it is possible to live this – a full life without focusing on our circumstances.

Lately, the media seems to show an understanding of this. At least one show in particular -Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The most recent episode featured The Grys’ Family. This family is not your ordinary one. Besides having two biological sons, the couple has fostered over 25o children over the past 25 years. Many of whom have suffered physical and mental disabilities. Three of these children were eventually to become part of the family.

One in particular has become a bright star. Despite being born with brittle bone disease, eight-year-old Jake had never let that stop him. Although he is able to get around by scooting around on his bottom, the house still remains quite a danger with a number of stairs and obstacles to overcome. You see, brittle bone disease causes the bones in his body to break more frequently and easily than most people. That’s why Jake has big hopes for his new home.

“This week is very special. It’s not only about Jake and the fact that we want to give him a independence and an accessibility he’s never had; it’s really about honoring a family.. ” explained Ty Pennington.

After talking with the family members, it was pretty obvious they had a variety of of interests. For example, Becca has an interest in dancing; while her twin sister Abby has an interest in sewing. On the other hand, biological sons Josh and Zach just like to relax in their basement apartment. Besides fostering children, Stephen and Jeannie have also an interest in birds.

So, with the family off in Disney World, the crew went to work.

The first step in the process was destroying the house that had limited Jake so much. So, with the help of Jake ‘s “magic” powers, the house crumbles. Jake often pretends he can open up doors by simply saying the magic words.

One designer, Ed Sanders, focused on the boys’ apartment. After speaking with them, it was pretty obvious that the two balanced each other out . To symbolize this, he built two chairs out of the two parts a “ying-yang ” symbol. Another designer, Didayer Snyder made a desk with a a pop-up sewing machine for Abby’s room.

For Jake, they have included a automatic elevator with two buttons; one at wheelchair level, the other at floor level-so whatever position he is in, he is always able to get around. In terms of the bathroom, everything is at floor level including the sink .

“When they come back from vacation, Jake is going to live in a world he’s never imagined, it’s called independence. And like for the first time ever, Jake’s gonna do whatever he wants on Jake time.,” Ty said with a smile.

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Citation for TV program: “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” ABC Channel 7 WJLA, 11 January 2009.

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