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

  • Demand across Canada outpaces supply for solar eclipse glasses

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Ali Van Orman is still looking for specialized glasses to protect her family's eyes during Monday's solar eclipse because she never counted on demand totally eclipsing supply. She tried to buy a coveted pair of solar eclipse glasses for herself and two children from Amazon back in July, but the hot commodities wouldn't have arrived in time. Source
  • Skeptics dismiss Bannon's call for economic war with China

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - White House adviser Steve Bannon isn't alone in pondering America's possibly generation-defining question about China's emerging superpower status - but his call for an "economic war" puts him far outside the mainstream. In an interview reflecting on some of his big-thinking projects, Bannon said the country should be "maniacally focused" on a confrontation with Beijing over who will be the global "hegemon" of the next 25 to 30 years. Source
  • U.S. general pledges to defend Japan from North Korea

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - America's top military official reiterated Friday his country's pledge to defend Japan against a North Korean missile attack, as western Japan carried out a test of an emergency alert system. "I think we made it clear to North Korea and anyone else in the region that an attack on one is an attack on both of us," Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Tokyo. Source
  • U.S. Navy captain in charge of USS Fitzgerald during collision to lose command

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch contributed to a collision between a Navy destroyer and a commercial container ship that killed seven sailors, Navy officials said, announcing that the warship captain will be relieved of command and more than a dozen other sailors will be punished. Source
  • Threat looms of more mudslides in Sierra Leone amid burials

    World News CTV News
    FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - The president joined with families in paying final respects Thursday to victims of this week's mudslides and flooding in Sierra Leone's capital, while the government warned residents to evacuate a mountainside where a large crack opened. Source
  • More than 400 killed in Sierra Leone mudslides, UN says

    World News CTV News
    FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - The United Nations says the death toll from Sierra Leone's mudslides is now above 400. The UN humanitarian agency says 409 bodies have been found after flooding and mudslides in the West African nation's capital of Freetown on Monday morning. Source
  • Suspects with bomb belts killed in Cambrils after Barcelona terror attack, police say [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BARCELONA, Spain — A white van jumped the sidewalk Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others. Source
  • Father charged in baby boy's fatal OD

    World News CTV News
    HAMILTON, Ohio -- An Ohio man has been charged in the fatal drug overdose of his 1-year-old son. Thirty-three-year-old Dorrico Brown, of Trenton, Ohio, was jailed Wednesday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in the death of Dorrico Brown Jr. Source
  • 'I know how powerful hate is' — A one-time Canadian neo-Nazi speaks out on Charlottesville

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    It has been 10 years since Elizabeth Moore has spoken publicly about her years as the pretty, public face of Canada’s neo-Nazi Heritage Front. Then came Charlottesville. “I know what these people are feeling. I know how powerful hate is,” Moore says from her Toronto home. Source
  • U.S. helping clear 'historic' amount of explosives in Mosul

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- The wires protruding from the small, misshapen stuffed animal revealed the deadly booby-trap tucked inside. For the people of Mosul, the sophisticated bomb was a reminder of how difficult it will be to return to homes littered with hidden explosives by Islamic State militants and dotted with the remnants of undetonated bombs dropped by the U.S. Source