Windsor

Home offers fresh start for mother and son through Habitat for Humanity

For Marcie Smith-Harris and her son Donovan, this home is where a new chapter begins.

'I want to thank you all for being part of our story'

'It's a dream come true,' says Marcie Smith-Harris, left. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

For Marcie Smith-Harris and her son Donovan, this home is where a new chapter begins.

"I want to thank you all for being part of our story," she said to people gathered at the home Tuesday.

"Again, I don't have the words to express my feelings of gratitude. And thank you doesn't seem like enough."

The house was originally built as a Habitat for Humanity project back in 2005 with the help of former president Jimmy Carter.

Without Habitat, we wouldn't be standing in a home.— Marcie Smith-Harris

The previous owners moved on earlier this year, but not before selling the home back to the organization. The home was refurbished prior to its new owners getting the keys.

Smith Harris did 500 hours fo community work with Habitat as part of the agreement and she has a mortgage to pay.

'Don't know what else to say'

Smith-Harris had her son when she was a teenager but managed to complete her high school and post-secondary education. She also faced challenges with her son's health.

"I spent the next few years trying to save again, only to find out that Donovan's brain tumour had begun to grow and he would need 70 weeks of chemotherapy," she said, recounting her story for people gathered at the ceremony.  

"I was forced to quit my job in a career that I adored, because working while taking care of an oncology patient provided too many risks for him."

Marcie Smith-Harris and her son Donovan. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

"I like it. It's new. I don't know what else to say," Donovan Smith-Lariviere, 15, said.

Mayor Drew Dilkens was among those congratulating the family on their new home.

"There is an issue with affordable housing in the community and there are many families that are struggling."

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens was at the ceremony Tuesday morning. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Harris-Smith reiterated that point.

"It's a dream come true," she said.

"The market is incredibly ridiculous.… Without Habitat, we wouldn't be standing in a home."

With files from Dale Molnar and Kerri Breen

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