Airdrie girls with Friedreich's ataxia see custom-built home for 1st time
$300K worth of renos donated by volunteers and tradespeople
An Airdrie mother and her two girls got their first look at their new home — which has been renovated by a team of volunteers to make life easier for the youngsters. Shanna Leavitt's daughters have Friedreich's ataxia, a rare genetic disease that deteriorates their muscles and will eventually leave them both using wheelchairs.
The girls, Kadence and Addison Foley, try out their new lift for the very first time.
Everything in the home — like this bathroom — has been made accessible for the youngsters. The $300,000 worth of renovations were paid for through fundraising, donations and thousands of volunteer hours from all kinds of tradespeople.
"I'm really happy. My room is the best part [but] I like all of it," said 12-year-old Kadence. It took 111 days to do the renovation, with 73 different companies donating time and materials.
The bungalow was purchased by an anonymous donor last November. Leavitt has now sold her current home and will take over the mortgage of this new home.
Reno organizer Michelle Carre says the house was taken down to the studs and built back up. In addition to some 300 volunteers, 40 gallons of paint, hundred and hundreds of tiles, there was also "lots of coffee [and] a few bottles of wine," she said.
The group will continue to fundraise to help pay for therapies to relieve pain and help keep the girls mobile. The disease is progressive and also affects the eyes and the heart. There is no cure.