Anonymous donor buys house for sisters with rare disease

A pair of Alberta sisters and their family are moving into a new accessible home, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.

See Full Article

The Leavitt family currently lives in a three-storey house in Airdrie, Alta.

But the sets of stairs are a challenge for Kadence, 11, and her eight-year-old sister Addison.

Both girls have a rare degenerative disease called Fredreich's ataxia, which is causing them to slowly lose function in their hands, feet and other muscles.

"It takes away their ability to speak, to swallow, to hear, to see," the girls' mother, Shanna Leavitt, told CTV Calgary.

Because of this, Kadence and Addison often have to use wheelchairs to get around, which means the family needs a more accessible place to live.

"We use a wheelchair when we go to the mall and stuff," Shanna Leavitt said. "It's hard if there's snow outside. And this is all new to us … so we're learning."

Hoping to help, family and friends contacted the Airdrie Angel program, a local initiative dedicated to helping community members in need.

Then, the anonymous donor stepped in.

The donor, who has asked not to be named, bought the family a bungalow that can be renovated so the sisters can get around.

When Shanna Leavitt received the news, she burst into tears.

"It's amazing how generous and how big people's hearts are," she said.

Contractor Scott Werenka is helping the family remodel the home.

Werenka estimates it'll take 1-4 weeks to complete the renovations. But he needs help from other tradespeople who can volunteer their time or money to get the job done.

"We're looking at every kind of trade you can think of to help out," Werenka said. "As (Kadence and Addison) grow, I want the house to grow with them."

The Leavitts say they need to install accessible doorways, new bathrooms and a new kitchen.

And the girls have an extra request of their own: "A big bedroom," Kadence said.

The Airdrie Angel organization is hoping to raise $250,000 for the renovations before the end of the spring.

The Leavitt family plans to move into their new house in April.

With files from CTV Calgary



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Au revoir 'America First': Biden team ditches Trump-style nationalism with foreign policy picks

    World News CBC News
    Let's cast a gaze forward to the first few days of Joe Biden's presidency for a glimpse at how dramatic a departure we're about to witness from the "America First" era. We know a fair bit now about Biden's incoming administration, based on his platform and on the slew of top foreign policy officials he introduced on Tuesday. Source
  • How Australia succeeded in lowering COVID-19 cases to near-zero

    World News CBC News
    Unlike other nations, including Canada, which have aimed to maintain new infections at a level that won't overwhelm the medical system, Australia set out to virtually eliminate the virus from its shores. When Australia was hit with a surge of COVID-19 cases in late July just weeks after declaring victory against the first wave, it prompted one of the world's longest lockdowns in Melbourne, for example, closing virtually everything that wasn't a grocery store or hospital for nearly four…
  • Small retailers push back against lockdown policy that favours big-box stores

    Canada News CBC News
    Small businesses in Toronto and Peel Region say it's not fair that they should be closed for in-person shopping while big-box stores can sell all manner of goods — from clothing to books to tech gadgets — if they happen to also sell essential products such as groceries. Source
  • What Canada's hardest-hit provinces can learn from those that handled COVID-19 best

    Canada News CBC News
    When epidemiologist Susan Kirkland opened a Halifax newspaper on Saturday, she was stunned. "Three protest rallies planned," the Chronicle Herald headline read, in part. "Oh, no," the head of public health and epidemiology at Dalhousie University thought to herself. Source
  • A surge in bitcoin in the COVID-19 era outshines gold, but can it last?

    Canada News CBC News
    A return of bitcoin to its stratospheric highs has top financial experts scratching their heads and cryptocurrency boosters saying I told you so. But while supporters insist that it's different this time as bitcoin heads back toward its all-time maximum in December 2017 — which at current exchange rates was somewhere around $26,000 Cdn — many fear that inexperienced speculators are again going to get their fingers badly burned. Source
  • Erin O'Toole's Conservatives are not immune from the struggles of pandemic-rattled premiers

    Canada News CBC News
    Alberta is now one of Canada's worst COVID-19 hotspots and Premier Jason Kenney's handling of the pandemic in his province is getting low marks, according to polls. It might also be sapping support for the federal Conservative Party in its most loyal stronghold. Source
  • Ombudsman says police, first responders must do more to inform crime victims of their rights

    Canada News CBC News
    Five years after Parliament passed a law giving victims of crime new rights, Canada's chief victims' advocate is calling on MPs to fix a regime she says has failed to empower and support those harmed by crime. Source
  • Azerbaijani troops enter further territory ceded by Armenia

    World News CTV News
    BAKU, AZERBAIJAN -- The Azerbaijani army has entered the Kalbajar region, one more territory ceded by Armenian forces in a truce that ended deadly fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan's Defence Ministry said Wednesday. Source
  • Ethiopian leader rejects international 'interference' in war

    World News CTV News
    NAIROBI, KENYA -- Ethiopia's prime minister is rejecting a growing international consensus for dialogue and a halt to deadly fighting in the country's Tigray region as "interference," saying his country will handle the conflict on its own as a 72-hour surrender ultimatum runs out. Source
  • The U.S. reported more than 2,100 deaths in a single day, and things are projected to get worse

    World News CTV News
    More than 2,100 COVID-19 deaths were reported in the U.S. on Tuesday, making it the highest single day death toll the country has seen since early May."> The most deaths in a single day were recorded April 15 -- 2,603 people. Source