Help Needed!

Help Needed!

It’s time. This is our plea to our Facebook friends and family: We. Need. Help.

You asked what you can do – and here it is. We are searching for the following services for our home renovation.

The outpouring of support from community members has been amazing but now we are looking for folks (with giant hearts) that can offer these specific services.

We need to rally our Facebook troops and search for the following services:

Demolition – we need the house fully demo’d by end of day Sunday April 30th to allow our framing crew to get to work! Done!

Drywallers – we have the supplies but we need skilled women and men to help us drywall the home. (update, you’ve helped find us a couple but we’re looking for one more.)

Appliances – we are looking to speak with any vendor who may be able to assist in providing new appliances for the home.

Granite – we would LOVE to give the gals some nice countertops.

How can you help?

Between this group of 500 friends, we believe we can make this happen. Or, we can convince someone else to make this happen. Please 1) Share this. 2) Email your friends. 3) Call companies you know/have worked with in the past.

Click here for a copy of our donor package, then email volunteer@ampossible.org with information on what type of services you’re able to offer.

You rule!

Amanda

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Angels among us

Angels among us

Written by Michelle Carre, Airdrie Angel

My husband, Matt, and I first heard Shanna’s story last summer. I had never met Shanna. I didn’t know the girls. But the story broke my heart. I could not stop thinking about these two little girls and their brave mom.

In 2013, we created a program called Airdrie Angel. The goal of our program is to lift the spirits of someone going through a difficult time through no fault of their own. Shanna was nominated an overwhelming number of times. In fact, so many people had reached out to us for help that we received half a dozen nominations – which is  more than we’ve ever had for an individual candidate.

She was a perfect candidate for our support but when I thought about our monthly package, it just didn’t feel like enough. This will be a long and challenging journey and she needs ongoing support and a plan for the future. As a mom, and community member, I wanted to do more.

Around the same time she was nominated, we received a call from Shanna’s sister, Jodi. At the time, Jodi was not aware of the Airdrie Angel nominations, she had contacted Matt for real estate services. She told him about her sister and neices. She had asked him to find a one story house as close to her current home as possible. Shanna currently has a 2 storey home in a community that she loves.

Matt got to work right away looking for a single story home with three bedrooms that would suit their needs. These homes are not easy to come by in Airdrie but one did, it was in the right area, it was the right size and had great potential.

But here’s the thing. It had “potential”. We were not going to find a home that was equipped for what they would need. Any house would require accessibility upgrades. When we got to thinking about the money she would need for a renovation, the project was too much. That’s when the Carre group decided to waive real estate fees. Then the Airdrie Angel program called some local businesses for favours – and it became clear. Airdrie Angel could help connect local business with this opportunity to help a family in need. Through great relationships and big hearts in our community we’ve been able to secure a lot of what we need to make an accessible home for Shanna and the girls a reality. And we are working hard to find more.

Matt and I are fortunate that our family is healthy but we also know how quickly that can change. Although I haven’t walked her shoes, as a Mother I can empathize with what it must be like to search for answers and then when one is finally given, it is life changing.

I can’t change the diagnosis and although I wish I could stop the progression of FA for the girls, I can’t. What I can do is lead an amazing group of people to renovate a house that will support the family through the inevitable changes that lie ahead. I can help build a house so that Shanna, Kadence and Addison can create a home and build a life.

Airdrie Angel will be at the Airdrie Home and Lifestyle show this weekend with information on the house and the program. Please stop by, say hello and enter to win an Ampossible necklace designed by Kadence and Addison.

Michelle Carre

Click here to learn more about Kadence and Addison. To donate, click here.

The Little House that Could

The Little House that Could

You guys…

What a difference a week can make! Can Airdrie reclaim the title as “Alberta’s Friendliest City” or better yet “Alberta’s most generous city”?!

Last week I sat at my desk feeling nervous about this huge project we had all taken on. Can we actually pull this off? Can we create a safe and accessible home for two deserving girls with next to no budget. I knew that our hearts were in the right place. But did anyone else believe?

Turns out they did – and they do!

Your actions speak louder than any words (and by words I mean Facebook likes and shares). You continue to prove to us that you are behind this project – and more importantly that you want to provide a full and safe life for Kadence and Addison.

In the past week, our little group aided by Airdrie Angel and assisted by Brent Fraser of Rock Creek Builders has received an outpouring of support to provide a safe and accessible home for Kadence and Addison. While the list is long (and getting longer) I wanted to give a shout out to those that have helped us prepare for possession date:

Big Bear Tech – Dan provided architectural drawings and assisted with permits for the project

The Carre Group of RE/MAX Rocky View – Matt Carre searched for and found the home. Then wiaved the real estate fees.

Rock Creek Builders – Brent Fraser has been providing contracting services and will continue to oversee the project as we move forward. At no charge!

Airdrie Angel – keeping our group organized and focused and putting us in contact with many bighearted Airdrie locals.

Anonymous donor (you know who you are) – purchased the home and will be carrying the mortgage until it can be assumed by Shanna when her house sells.

Bridget Brown – for putting together an amazing video and helping with media coverage.

Edelman Calgary – providing Public Relations guidance.

Dave Wilkinson – website design and management.

 

City of Airdrie – assisting with permits.

And this is just the beginning! The list of trades who are going above and beyond for this project is at least twice as long and you will hear about each and every one of them as we move forward with the build. Stay tuned and please support your talented local trades people – they have huge hearts!

Now, how can you help:

  • Share this post – the more people we tell, the more likely we are to be successful.
  • Watch for upcoming posts. We will be placing a call for vendors we still need. (ahem, anyone know a drywaller? A framing company?)
  • Use these vendors. Use them often. And maybe even given them a big ol’ smooch.

The countdown is on – only 10 days until construction (or destruction) begins.

To donate house products or services, email ampossible@airdrieangel.ca. To donate, visit our GoFundMe page.

Tanya Sitter

Challenges of an Accessible Home Renovation

Challenges of an Accessible Home Renovation

It is difficult to sit idly by and watch a friend struggle. There were so many people that wanted to help – including me . . . but what could we do? We met regularly after the girls were diagnosed. We organized food, childcare, house cleaning. The generosity of people we knew and people we didn’t was (and still is) incredible.  We talked about Shanna’s needs and fears – for those that know her you know that she does not ask for anything.

We met in Shanna’s house and, as the months went by, it became more obvious how difficult it was for the girls to navigate their childhood home. The welcoming and warm home where they grew up (and still do not want to leave) was just one more obstacle to their independence. Kadence and Addison depend on their mom to navigate the stairs and falls in the small living and kitchen space are common – even bathing is more difficult. The pub style table wasn’t a safe place for family dinner anymore. Shanna is strong and mighty but the constant lifting was affecting her as well. And wheelchairs?? 2 of them??? Forget it.

It was a small miracle to find a bungalow in the same neighbourhood with 3 bedrooms on the main level and things were starting to come together. We had a donor willing to provide bridge financing, a realtor that would donate fees, an architect that would donate drawings and a general contractor to help organize at no charge.

Simple right?

Maybe for Ty Pennington. For a group of well-meaning friends and family with next to no budget, we have our work cut out for us.

To make this house safe for the girls we must:

  • Widen the hallways,
  • Create an accessible bathroom that includes a roll-in shower
  • Add an elevator lift to the lower level
  • Add lifts from the garage, as well as the front and back door,
  • Install cabinets that can be accessed from seated position,
  • Remove carpet

The architectural plans (a complete gut of the main level) are complete. As I write this we are 3.5 weeks away from possession of the bungalow that will hopefully mean a return of independence and an easier future for the Foley girls.

This week we will begin making calls to everyone who has already generously offered support. After that we will determine what work we still require assistance with. “The List” will be the subject of a post as soon as we have the information.

For those that reached out to help thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And please be patient with us. This is by no means our comfort zone, but we are determined to ensure this family lives their best life.

To donate, please visit our GoFundMe page. To volunteer time or materials, email ampossible@airdrieangel.ca.

Tanya Sitter

How it all began…

How it all began…

“No gluten. No dairy. Limited eggs. Limited nuts. Be careful of sugar levels as they are more susceptible to diabetes. Oh, and Kadence doesn’t like peanut butter.”

We got this.

“You’ll need to start eye therapy. Physiotherapy. Massage Therapy. Make an appointment with the swallow clinic. Get Addison fitted for a wheel chair. Quarterly heart assessments.”

Okay, lets make a plan (and as an hourly employee, how much work could Shanna afford to miss, and how much are these additional required therapies going to cost?).

“Massage them every morning before they get out of bed. They need to be as active as possible. Yoga. Swimming. Adaptive bikes.”

Adaptive bikes?

“Your current table is unsafe. You need to install support in the bathrooms. Maybe get some hand rails. And a wheelchair ramp.”

Geez. (How much longer can Shanna manage to carry the girls up and down the stairs several times a day? Everyday.)

Last August, I stood in my sister’s kitchen, armed with recipes to help sort through these dietary restrictions and fill her freezer full of food for the girls. This was going to be a physical and emotional marathon. Every week the girls will have multiple appointments (doctors, specialists, therapies, activities) and Shanna needed to be as prepared as possible to manage what lies ahead. After an exhausting journey to receive a diagnosis, she fiercely manages the girls health on a day-to-day basis.

In addition, my sister tries to cope with the fact that both of my sweet nieces’ health was deteriorating. And we have no way to predict what will be next.

On top of it all: her house was no longer suitable for the girls – and it would only get worse.

Watching her, I knew that her plate was so full that the thought of moving and retrofitting a house was too much. Like most of us, she wasn’t able to hold two mortgages during the renovations. And having the girls live in a construction site was not an option. She was a deer caught in the headlights (something only a sister can say) and I didn’t know how she would be able to focus on something as large as moving her family.

Did I mention that she didn’t want to move? She loves her home and especially loves her neighbours.

“I just wish that someone else could think about this,” she cried. “I just wish our stuff could magically move to a place that was safe and happy for the girls.”

Driving away my mind raced about how we could do this for her.

My oldest sister, Jodi, had been working tirelessly to find a solution. Looking at houses, contacting a realtor, contacting every “Extreme Home Makeover”-type program she could think of. She genuinely believed that if we put this out into the Universe, something good would happen. It had to.

Then one September day, the Airdrie Angels program contacted us. They said that Shanna and the girls had touched so many hearts, that they were overwhelmed by the number of applications for assistance submitted in their name. They believed that if we teamed up, they could reach out to their Airdrie networks and we could help Shanna, Kadence and Addison move into a safe, happy home. They even used a “move that bus” reference.

In addition, Shanna is blessed to have a group of lifelong girlfriends that are very close. They are fiercely successful, determined and passionate women. The kind of people that Make. Shit. Happen. They had already formed a small committee that would think about how to support her through this diagnosis. The GoFundMe account was set up, and grants and available tax credits were being researched on Shanna’s behalf. They had found the resources to purchase the home so she did not have to carry two mortgages. They also believed.

So there we were. Two realtors who double as the Airdrie Angels founders, a general contractor and accessibility renovation specialists, my mom, my new baby and our angel investor. We had found a suitable house in Shanna’s community. It is a one-story house that needs a ton of work to be ready for the girls. Together, we decided to pull the trigger and secretly purchase a house for my sister. Video.

We believed that if we worked hard enough and told enough people this story, the community would step up and help us make this possible. Otherwise, we are leaving my sister with a bigger mortgage, and a house that needs to be renovated.

…..

Life isn’t fair. There is nothing that will fix that and we will struggle everyday to make sense of this.

But life is so amazing. It’s the moments where people are so touched by this story and want to help out that we will be forever grateful for. It’s the kindness and generosity of strangers that keeps us moving forward.

Over the course of the project, you will hear from the team that makes up this committee. We will share our successes and requests for support with the hope that our readers support this journey to make a safe, happy home for these deserving girls.

To donate, visit GoFundMe. To volunteer time or materials for the home renovation, email ampossible@airdrieangel.ca.

xo

Amanda Balint
Sister, Auntie, Godmother, Friend