How did I do guys?
1. The names and ages of each member of the household
The Fritze's William (dad) 37, Caradie (mom) 34, Austin 14, Noah 12 and Corbin 6 on March 3
2. A description of the major challenges within the home.
Everything is wrong with this house
The bathroom: the layout makes it very challenging to get Corbin in and out of the shower to bathe him and we have no bathtub or room for one so I have to sit Corbin in his bathchair on the floor and his feet stick out of the shower base causing the floor to become wet over and over and it has begun to rot, leaving a huge hole, which we covered with plywood because we would have to repair the foundation before we could remodel. Also the toilet doesn't always flush right.
The foundation: it's cracking on the back portion of the house, causing the house to shift.
The kitchen: the washer and dryer are in the kitchen taking up most of the space, the washer empties into the sink, which has overflowed (many times), causing the countertop, the floor and the cabinets to become rotted. There is very limited counter and storage space. All the pipes from the hot water heater are right out in the open. The electrical box is also right out in the open.
The other two rooms downstairs: they are very small, especially when you have many many pieces of equipment for Corbin's needs. The one room has the dinning table, Corbin's therapy table and the house's only heating source, which is only a space heater. For additional heat we have two electric heaters, one in the bathroom and one in Corbin's room. The other room was the living room but we had to move Corb's bedroom downstairs, as the stairwell is to narrow to carry him up or down it anymore. The couch went in the dinning room, which left you only about three feet from the TV and besides at meal times when the boys sit at the table, we weren't able to all fit as a family to hang out together. And with Corb's bed, all his therapy tools, personal care and daily living items, it's just so much easier taking care for him in his room, Sadly this has kinda torn our family apart for the last almost 5yrs. We just decided to move the couch into Corbin's bedroom. We're hoping with a little more space, we can all spend some time together. The downside we won't be able to eat together anymore.
Upstairs has two bedrooms: one is myself and Bill's. Our bedroom is very small, we have a queen sized bed and it literally takes up almost all of the floor space. The other room is Austin and Noah's it's an OK size but it's really hard having two boys 14yr old and 12yr old having to share everything and they get on each others nerves.
The driveway: it's only rocks, which makes pushing Corbin's wheelchair very hard and in the winter it's hard to shovel.
The garage: it's falling, it's small and it's cluttered.
I have designed a floorplan for this house that would make life so much easier and better but we just have no funds. Since you guys didn't pick us, we had decided to have a fundraiser, to at least repair the foundation and make the bathroom more accessible, but now with this announcement of the show looking in our area again.....I highly doubt anyone is going to want to donate to us, they will want to wait to find out whose chosen.
3. Explanation of why this family is deserving, or a positive role model in their community.
I put my heart and soul into trying to get you guys to notice us. Back in 2007 I worked the whole year getting everything ready to send in. That Dec when we applied, we included videos, pictures and a petition with over 4,000 signatures of support. We applied again in 2009 when you announced you were looking for a family in our area. Within 3 weeks we had over 600 signatures of support again. The whole town was buzzing, everyone kept saying we hope it's you guys, you so deserve it. Many people called and e-mailed me, telling me that they sent in e-mails nominating us too. We even had people standing outside of our house hoping to see that bus. And I know of people this time too that are sending in e-mails about us again.
I don't know what more we can do to show you all we have a great story to tell.....Our house is falling apart, it's very small, it only has two bedrooms and a terrible layout, all for 5 people and tons of equipment for our disabled son. When our little boy was 14 months old he choked on a dog toenail, died in my arms and then when revived he was completely disabled. We were told his brain was damaged so badly that he would likely stay in a vegetative state. I was NOT ok with that, I have worked my ass off for almost 5year now, proving those doctors wrong. My son is no where near in a vegetative state. He understands so much now, he interacts with us, he eats by mouth and even just a few weeks ago he learn how to tell us NO....I will NEVER stop trying to help him get better. I have designed and made all my own equipment and do all my own therapies with him because since he was 3 years old (he's almost 6 years old now), I have had to fight with the state medical assistance to provide him therapy regularly. The lack of therapy has been all because of paperwork. The center has been sending in the prior authorizations on the wrong forms. Wrong form are all trashed right away. And apparently they don't let you know it was the wrong form so all these years he could have been getting true rehabilitation....I am only one person I can only do so much. Not only do I do his therapy by myself, I also have to be everyone else too...an advocate, a nurse, a teacher, a dietitian, a sectary, a personal aide, a mom to two older boys, a wife, a housekeeper, etc etc. I did NOT ask for this job, nor did I apply for it, nor did I get any training, but I wouldn't give it up for the world. Corbin is the love of my life.
Another way I feel we are deserving is because I believe in my heart that Corbin was giving back to me for a purpose. The purpose of touching every person that meets him, in some way or another. You can't help but to smile and have a better day when you meet him. His big blue eyes and huge dimples light up every ones day. I began journaling his story since shortly after his accident. So I designed and manage his website www.CorbinLeeProject.com it has his whole story, updates, videos/pics and other information. Corbin has many faithful follower, they love him like he's family. Also I have had a number of parents searching for help, that have come across Corb's website and they have contacted me asking for help because Corbin and I have inspired them. They want to know what I did/do with him, so they can try it with their disabled child too. I happily answer any questions they may have and if I don't know the answer I will send them to an on-line support group that I also belong too. And many of the families that have children like Corbin because of horrible accidents, become very close. We all have something in common, even though it's a terrible reason, it's helpful to have somewhere and someone to turn too. The common person could never understand what we are going through on a daily basis.
Another thing I do with Corb is bring him to the local colleges so the students can work with someone as hurt as Corb is. The professors pretty much have me teach the student how to do things with Corb and I enjoy every minute and so does he.
A dream of mine would be to start a "new kind" of therapy center, one that teaches parents they are the most important part of their child's recovery and where the college students could come to volunteer their time and in return they will have hands on training. I also have an idea for a book....a how to do it yourself kind.
4. Photos of the family and a photo of the home
2009 family photo:
Front and back of the house:
Hour tour: (rooms have since changed)
A special kind of love:
5. Don’t forget to include a contact phone number.