Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's Jillian Harris on the Hall Family
This week we traveled to Wichita, Kansas to surprise the Hall family. Carl Hall is an all-American baseball star that played at Wichita State. He married his high school sweetheart and they have four absolutely beautiful children. Not even a year ago Carl was injured in a tragic car accident leaving him a complete paraplegic. Since their home wasn't wheel chair accessible the family had to move to a cramped condo that was in no way ADA accessible, and definitely not large enough for a family of six. So we came in to try and make life a whole lot easier for them.
I'm taking care of Madison (14) and McClain's (9) room, the two middle girls. McClain is a total tomboy who loves the sports and Madison wants to be an interior designer, so somehow I've got to figure out a way to combine the two. What I love is they both love neon, so I'm going to be able to bring the room together in that way. Not only is their room going to represent them as individuals, but it's going to bring some fun and some color and some light back into their life. In the last year these girls have endured more than any child should have to endure, so I really want them to walk through those doors and just feel at home again. I'm going all out with their room and am going to create the best of both worlds for them!
The most important thing for this house is that it's accessible so that Carl can actually get around in his new home. But, as an interior designer, I really want to make sure this home really felt like a home for them. I'm trying to add some rustic touches, but still really make it bright and airy. I have some really great plans so it's really going to scream comfort and have a lot of energy as well...with some extra special extreme touches, of course!
The beauty of what has happened despite this horrendous tragedy is the support from this community. From Bob Cook, the builder, who reached out and gladly took this project on to the overwhelming support from the entire community and volunteers. It has been so inspiring and obviously makes this a special project for all us. We really couldn't do what we do without this incredible community standing behind us.
It's hard to imagine how someone like Carl goes from being an all-American all-star baseball player, taking care of his family, running the household, and then to being in a position that he's paralyzed. Literally and figuratively he's paralyzed, of being able to do what his instincts want him to do. Then you look over at him and see that he's got those eyes, and he emits that energy and love and you can see that he's okay. He loves his family. He's just endured so much and I just think he's still so inspiring. He wants to continue to inspire. He wants to continue to make people laugh. I'm not sure if I've actually ever met somebody in or out of a wheel chair that is so concerned about making people laugh, at every moment that he can. I would never wish what Carl had to go through on anybody in a million years, but to be honest when I look at them I see the love as the entire family stands together as a team. They have something incredibly special. Even though they faced all of this adversity and this huge trauma in their life they still have this incredibly comedic and positive outlook. I think that they are a family that the rest of America should truly look up to.
Meeting the Hall family and being able to build this home for them really allows me to grow as a person. It's a reminder that this life never really takes us where we expect it to go. It's a reminder that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. You'll see what I mean when you all watch this Sunday 8|7c on ABC.