I have been thinking alot lately about our home and being selected to have an Extreme Makeover. I get asked daily what it was like and were the people really that nice, like they
are on television???
I have kept pretty quiet about this publicly. I really did not want to seem to be gloating or
arrogant. My family truly does feel blessed and we know God had a huge hand in this.
In late October of 2006, I received a statement from our mortgage company (who is now
out of business) stating they were going to start foreclosure proceedings as early as 30 days
from the date of the letter.
I take my kids to school every morning. Patrick would drop us off in the morning and I would
walk home to get Caitlin off on the bus.
The first week of November, I walked home. I always do my talk with God on my walks, this
morning was no different, except that I asked God to help me financially. I never have done
this before, and I felt guilty that day. I asked God to take the burden of losing my home off
of my shoulders. Suddenly, I felt a great relief come off of my chest....I really felt like every-
thing was going to be okay.
The next day, I receive a call from my neighbor, who nominated us for Extreme Makeover
Home Edition. He said he had received a call from a producer on EMHE who wanted to
talk to me ASAP. I was so nervous.
I talked to the producer for over 2 hours that Monday...he told me he would be here to see
us by Thursday of the same week....yes, that fast.
My husband and my heads were spinning.....what if we don't get it? What if they don't like
us??? (how could that be?).
We did not have any idea of all of the behind the scenes work that goes into making our dream
come true, but Man, they work their tails off.
All I will say is this about the process, because it is a very personal experience.....the people
who are involved from the camerman to the stars of the show (Hello Ty, Eduardo, Paul, Paige,
and Tanya) are 100% behind you and your family. You worry about nothing....your home,
your kids, your family, your neighbors, etc.
I will say this....when I heard Ty yelling in the megaphone "O'Donnell Family, Patrick, Jeanette,
Caitlin, Deirdre, Erin, Meaghan, Patrick, Kiernan..come on out", I thought I was still dreaming
from the night before.
When I saw them standing in my front yard...I saw Angels surrounded by light....I still feel
We have had many nay sayers trying to say things like:
"They don't deserve that house"...
"They will just trash that house too"....
"They won't be able to afford the bills".....
"Why did they get that house, we need it more"....etc.
I wish everyone could have this experience. I really do.
I wish everyone, once in their lives, could win the lottery like
We know we are lucky...we know we are blessed....we will never take this gift
Our show is being reaired on Monday evening and Tuesday evening on
TVLand....this always brings up the memories we felt that week.
I wish the show could show all of the fun we had on vacation in Crested Butte, CO.
I wish the show could show the dedication and devotion the team at Adaptive Sports
in Crested Butte showed our children. With respect and dignity.....amazing.
I wish the show would show all of the behind-the-scenes personel that spent endless
time building our home. All of the volunteers from our community who rallied
together to build our home.
Every time I walk in this house, I feel them.
In our kitchen is a tin ceiling. There are hand and fingerprints all over them.
People aske me why I don't wipe them off...
I always answer, "Those hand and finger prints were put there by someone who
gave up a few hours to make sure that we had a home that was safe and secure for
our children....I like them...the fingerprints remind me of this".
In December, it will be 2 years since our Extreme Makeover Home Experience. I think
about it every day. It just doesn't happen to your family....you become a part of it...
Not too bad, huh????
- I am the proud mother of 6 children. 5 of our children have autism. We do not feel our world has ended, but just begun. We do not chelate, intervene biochemically, give shots of any kind, practice ABA, etc. We treat them as we treat any humanbeing. We treat them with kindness and respect and expect the same from them. They are exceptional children.
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