Why This Community Spent More Than 400 Hours of Labor on a Stranger's Home
Aidan Jackowiak Smith, 4, from Northumberland, England, was born with a condition called CLOVES syndrome, a rare congenital disorder characterized by blood vessel and skin abnormalities.
His parents have struggled to provide for him while also tackling a massive remodel of their new house to make it accessible for Aiden’s special needs. Now, thanks to kind strangers in their community, they have one less thing to worry about.
After Gordon Webster, the manager of the Alnwick MKM builders’ supply company, became acquainted with the Jackowiak Smith family, he decided to see what he could do to help. Together with the local paper, the Northumberland Gazette, they advertised the need for volunteers and donations.
Soon, builders, plumbers, electricians and good Samaritans offered their help free of charge, beginning last summer. Somewhere around 20 people donated approximately 400 hours to get the house to the point where it is now, Webster told The Mighty.
“We were amazed at the response we got from people,” Webster said. “People from over 40 miles away were offering to help with every kind of work needed.”
Some of the renovations made to the home include the installation of an elevator from the dining room up to Aiden’s bedroom, as well as the widening of doors for wheelchair access and the addition of a new entrance to the home with a wheelchair ramp, according to the Northumberland Gazette.
“It was a total hands-on job by a lot of good people who saw a family needing help and gave them it.” Webster told The Mighty. “It was great to be a part of.”
The team of volunteers got the interior of the house in good enough condition for the family to move in before Christmas. Now, the finishing touches are being put on the exterior, such as a wheelchair-accessible sensory garden so Aiden can enjoy the outdoors during summer. Webster says they expect to be completely finished by April.
“People have been working so hard on our behalf,” Karl Smith, Aiden’s father, told the Northumberland Gazette. “We are so grateful and there really aren’t any words to use to thank people enough.”
Check out the before and after pictures of the house below:
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