Paige Hemmis, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: The McCullys
This year we at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are celebrating heroes. Many of these heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Some are people you may pass every day in the street, and never know the amazing things that they have accomplished. Well, this week we are celebrating the heroism of a 10-year-old boy and his incredible family that stands behind him every single day.
Job McCully is no ordinary 10-year-old. He in an inspiration to everyone around him, and even those who have simply heard his story but have never met him. He is a fighter, and a constant reminder to everyone to never give up. Little Job has survived leukemia, a bone marrow transplant, a coma, a double lung transplant, and is currently fighting an infection that could be life threatening. Through all of this, however, he has stayed strong and kept a smile on his face all while inspiring those around him. He is constantly worried about everyone else but himself, continuously giving praise, support and encouragement to those who need it most. Even when his grandmother went through breast cancer, he was there by her side encouraging her not to give up and letting her know, through his own experience, that she could beat cancer just as he did. AT TEN YEARS OLD! It's amazing when you think about your own life — how may people have you affected over the years? And could you continue to do that while simply fighting to survive?
If Job's situation wasn't hard enough, the family had to move out of their home due to the conditions they were living in. The house had mold and fungus something that is bad for everyone to breath, but because Job's lungs were so volatile, the house actually caused additional damage. Your home is supposed to be your shelter, your refuge! Instead, this family's home was life threatening and they had to move. The entire community rallied behind the McCully's and was able to get them in a temporary home, which is simply a sign of how much this family is loved. But we needed a permanent home for the McCullys, so we called our wonderful, kind-hearted builder Jack Wilson, of Woodhaven Homes. This was an especially touching story for Jack as he lost a son to a brain tumor years ago and you could just tell that he felt this family's pain and was going to build this home with all the love and craftsmanship he could muster.
The other members of the family have been supportive of Job, but have also made a huge impact on the community. They share the same loving and nurturing spirit that Job has. His sister, Nicole, helps out around the house and even takes care of her little brother by giving him diabetes shots. Rob, the dad, is a deacon at the church and is always helping neighbors and friends in any way that he can. Tina, the mom, is an active member of the community and has created two programs to help people deal with difficult situations. Glenda, the grandmother, lives with the family and helps out in everyway that she can.
What was surprising to me, however, was the fact that we received over 2000 letters about this family — many letters that brought us to tears long before we ever met the family. So many of these letters told how this young boy inspired people in ways that are unimaginable. It's a true testament to the power of an individual. Many people think that they can't make a difference because they are only one person. Well, Job is a perfect example of how one person can change the lives of thousands! And after spending one week with him, you can add all of us to that list!
One special thing we did while out here in Arkansas was our visit to the Arkansas Children's hospital. What an amazing experience! We got to meet many kids on their way to recovery, others that were fighting for their lives, and many parents who are pillars of strength for their families. We even had a special visit from Mark Shultz, a Christian singer whose music has been a constant inspiration to the McCully family. He sang the most beautiful song that had us all in tears! It was such an emotional experience to be there, listening to inspiring music, and being surrounded by amazing little kids who fight every day simply to live. We also got the chance to meet the doctors and nurses who helped Job get where he is today.
The entire week was one of learning and appreciation of what we have. If you ever get to the point where you feel things are too hard to pick your head up each day, remember this 10-year-old little boy who has fought every day of his life to survive — and along the way has inspired thousands.