Dexter's home is going to be extended and renovated!
People really are good!
Read more on the Doing it for Dexter blog
A big home... A comfortable home.
Mum and Dad just bought our house, so we have our own home now.
Well, they have a big mortgage, and we have a home.
When you have 'special needs', like I do, you look at your house in a different way.
Different things become important... You look at renovations in a different way.
We look at what I need, more than what we want.
We had some people come and look at the house, with me in mind.
This post is about my house, and some of our plans...
to support me, so I no longer have to be held on the toilet.
(I've remembered how to use the loo, too!)
We wondered whether our toilet room would be big enough
to fit my new seat inside... Luckily, it fits.
But, our bathroom... it's only small. So, while the new
toilet seat also doubles as a shower seat for me,
I can not use it in the shower... it just doesn't fit!
We need a new bathroom... one with wide doorways
(for wheelchair access) and an open shower area,
with smooth floors and no steps.
That step you take, into your shower cubicle...
too hard for me!
We need new taps... taps I can turn on and off. Big, easy to turn ones...
so my cerebral palsy affected hands can turn them.
We need new light switches, too. At the moment, my aunt lets me turn off the light after my bath... we use my feet! I like doing that! I stretch out my toes!
I need a big light switch, which flicks easily, so I can learn to do it myself.
And, I need easy access to the bathroom from my bedroom, so the positioning of the doors will need to change, too.
My bed is a hospital bed, which is big. There are cords and wires under it, because my bed can be lowered and raised and tilted... We can't store things under my bed. And, with the hoist, there's not much more room in my bedroom... I need a bigger room. I need a wider doorway, too.
When our house is ready, we can have permanent hoist rails inserted into the ceilings. They will mean I can be moved from my bed to the bathroom and toilet, without anyone lifting me.
At the moment, everything is pushed in to corners, and they take up a lot of space. Half our lounge room has become a storage area.
What would be amazing, would be... if I could have a whole room for my equipment. It could be like a therapy room. I'd love a therapy room!
I don't walk or run or crawl... on my own, so I am
pretty much stuck in one room.
I do move though, a lot! So, I cannot be left alone.
Sometimes, I hit my head on furniture... our soft lounge chair
or a pillow. Sometimes, I hit the wall or a table leg or
something hard. Sometimes, that hurts!
Sometimes, I get stuck between or under things.
I usually remember to stay still, if I get stuck, so I don't get hurt.
With a big open living area, I would be able to move around more easily, too... when I get good in my walker, or I get a wheelchair... or I learn to walk.
Too many corners and too many hallways make moving
Mum and Dad ripped up the old carpet in our living area. They put down some temporary lino flooring.
Its so much better! My chair and toilet and walking frame
can all be rolled smoothly across the floor, and I can use
my walker inside, when the weather is not very good.
It's much better for my roller, too, which helps me with
learning skills for crawling.
I just would not fit through the smaller-than-usual doorway.
I guess that means I would never have to do the dishes!
The kitchen is a room I would not be able to access, unless it was totally renovated and opened up. I'd need special taps and light switches there, too.
There are three steps down into that room... three steps... not much, right? Three steps are not much for everyone else, but those three steps are like Mount Everest to me!
Soon, I will be too heavy, and I will no longer be able to be carried around.
When that happens, I will have no access to that room...
It will be like our house will be split in two.
We'll also need a ramp, leading to our front door, because those steps have to be changed. We're looking into getting a ramp soon.
Cerebral palsy has changed the way we look at the world. Its changed the way we look at our home, and the changes we need to make to it.
Oh, and soon... I will have another sister! I'm not sure where she will be sleeping!
Luckily, Dad buys lotto tickets!
It's a dream, but it could happen... I just don't know the right people.
Maybe someone out there knows the right people...
Here's an idea, on getting Dexter's house renovated: Mate's Rates.
We'd need a foreman, someone to coordinate everything. I have no idea of the building process! The foreman would have to know what the renovation plans are and would have to schedule everything (and, everyone), to make it actually happen.
Local businesses (which can afford to), could send around a tradie or two on 'Mate's Rates', when the foreman says they are needed. Lenice and Andrew could be charged wholesale prices, or Mate's Rates on building supplies.
By the time the house was fully renovated, with all the Mate's Rates prices, Lenice and Andrew would have saved a lot of money.
How would we be able to thank businesses, and make it worthwhile?
Any business which provides any assistance to the house renovation would be advertised. We could develop a facebook page and a website, or, we could use Dexter's facebook and twitter accounts, and this website. We'd promote your business, and publicly thank you. Social media is very powerful, and people would surely be happy to support the people who supported Dexter.
Today, Dexter hit 1,000 twitter followers. He has loyal facebook friends.
And, this website... during the last two months, there has been over 500 hits, every day. On a number of occasions this month, the website has received over 1,000 hits and on one occasion, it reached just under 2,000 hits in one day.
We could definitely promote any business which helps Dexter!
Also, signage could be hung on the property.
And, if this idea took off... We would ask the local paper to write an article, thanking everyone involved. We could even contact the local TV news channels.
They've let us publicly thank people before.
So, why should Lenice and Andrew be given Mate's Rates?
Have you read what they have been through in the last few years?!
Four months in hospital with a premature son, his vision impairment and hepatoblastoma, pneumonias and surgeries...
Dexter's cerebral palsy is expensive. His toilet cost over $3,500! His chair was $9,000. His walker was $4,000 (donated) and his standing frame was over $7,000. His spoons costs $70 and two straws cost $13.
These will be ongoing costs.
He will outgrow his equipment, and larger sizes will need to be purchased. Dexter will need a wheelchair, and as such, he will need a modified van, which will be about $50,000. Our local community has been incredible... but, we cannot continue to ask them for money.
If we could cut a few costs for Lenice and Andrew on their house renovations, we would be giving them a huge helping hand.
And, even while penny-pinching for Dexter, Lenice and Andrew are quick to support others, and other charities. They do so quietly. They do so, because they know how hard it is. These two people are 'givers', and it is not easy for them to be seen as 'that family that needs help'.
But, they are that family... and they do need help.
In the last year or so, they have 'used Dexter' to fundraise just over $25,000 for charities. They have more plans in the process, to raise even more money for charity, and help even more people.
If you think you could help Lenice and Andrew out, and help renovate Dexter's house... I'd love to hear from you!
If you are an architect, engineer or drafter... I'd love to hear from you... and, if you think you would like to offer your expertise as a foreman... I'd love to hear from you! If you know how to make this happen... I'd love to hear from you!
I feel as though this is a crazy idea... but just imagine how amazing it would be, to watch a house of love being created. A home, built with love, by a community.
We could do this! I just need the right people to see it!