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Pekin,When Jake Grys and his family came home from a recent Disney World vacation and returned to their suburban neighborhood, which is a typical thing for most any 8-year-old to do, something was very different. When Jake came home, there were a camera crew, celebrities and hundreds of fans screaming his name in adoration.
Jake was the recipient of a brand new house, built in just one week by volunteers. Jake's mother Jean had started a petition at GoPetition for an Extreme Home Makeover.
The petition read: "We, the undersigned are pleading with Endemol Productions/ABC to help a remarkable young guy. Jake Grys was adopted by the Grys family after they had spent 25 years as foster parents and had fostered over 250 children. The family has 7 children and Jake is the youngest. He has so many challenges, the most extreme being his tiny size. Jake is 8 years old and the size of an 18 month old.
Jake has dwarfism caused by brittle bones. He needs Extreme Makeover Home Edition to customize his home so he can do simple tasks such as turn on lights, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, and escape a fire. Other challenges are getting in and out of bed, showering, combing his hair, reaching toys and clothes. Basically everything we take for granted, Jake can not do without help.
Jake needs your help to declare his independence!!!! Please find it in your heart to help him!"
Jean's prayers were answered.
“I can’t believe it’s finally here,” said Melanie Spurgeon, who was selected to be the lead builder for the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” television show that demolished and rebuilt the Grys home. “It’s been a very hard week.”
Jake, his brothers and sisters and his parents, Steve and Jean Grys, stepped out of a limo Tuesday and stood before a large bus that blocked their view of the house.
Host Ty Pennington talked to the family members, who reveled in the moment, hugging each other and waving to the crowds.
The family and the audience grew restless for Pennington to say the famous phrase; “move that bus.”
And when he did, the reaction was extreme.
The crowd burst into loud cheers and applause, the family jumped into each others’ arms, and little Jake smiled, laughed and waved to his fans like a rock star.
Angie DeLost, Jake’s occupational therapist at Easter Seals in Peoria, first encouraged the family to apply to be on the show three years ago.
Jake suffers from a bone disease that causes his bones to break easily and also has dwarfism, which made his old house inaccessible to him.
DeLost toured the inside of the new 14th Street home before the family returned.
“I’m pretty much speechless,” she said of what she saw inside. “He’ll be 100 percent independent, and he’s going to be safe.”
An elevator will allow him to move between the basement and first floor, while cork floors will add cushion if he falls.
The family continued filming inside the house and was unavailable for comments Tuesday.
DeLost said the accessible design will give Jake Grys his independence, but it also fits into the overall flow of the house.
“You cannot tell that someone with a disability lives in that house,” she said. “It’s so well integrated.”
The house is 4,000 square feet and has seven bedrooms and four bathrooms. The show is scheduled to air on ABC in late December or January.
DeLost said it was a monumental effort to make the project happen, no matter the size of the job performed by the hundreds of volunteer workers.
“I’m humbled by the fact that all these people came together and did this,” she said. “I’ve seen a part of mankind I’ve never seen before on this scale.”
Jean had one simple message for her over 16,000 GoPetition supporters:
"Thank you so much to everyone that supported us."
Modified Source: Kevin Sampier: http://www.pjstar.com/news/x15881024/Makeover-nearly-ready