Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's Ed Sanders on the Korpai Family
Okay friends, this week we are just outside of New York City in a beautiful place called Orange County. We're visiting the Korpai family, which is made up of dad, Jimmy, mom, Darlene, and two children, Hailey and Hudson, who live in a small town called Crawford. The family's story is actually a story we have never covered on any of our builds. It's really about the daughter, Hailey. She suffers from a condition called Acondroplasia, which is a very common form of dwarfism.
For people with dwarfism, it can be much harder to complete everyday tasks around the house that many of us take for granted. They can't reach a light switch. They can't open the upper cupboards. They can't turn on faucets unless we build things or they get things to stand on, which then creates more of a problem. We want to give people independence, but with Hailey, when you walk around the house you see first hand the struggles she faces. The first thing you encounter is opening the front door. You reach for the front door every day but she isn't able. When you walk around the Korpai's home, Jimmy has gotten wooden dowel rods with little wooden balls on the end attached to light switches, attached to door handles. It's just not an ideal situation for anyone so this week we're going to come in and really try to fix those problems.
I still find it utterly unbelievable that in 2011 people still have this perception about people with dwarfism. It's embarrassing that a lot of people still think the way they do. That's the great thing about Hailey's parents Jimmy and Darlene. They make it their life now to raise awareness for dwarfism and they've got this amazing organization called Understanding Dwarfism. They want to go around schools and educate, not just the kids, but teachers as well as, adults, and parents, on dwarfism.
So this week, gang, there's two things on the agenda. The first one is to build a little people friendly house for Hailey, and the second thing is, I think, even bigger. It's creating a space for the family to continue their tireless work on dwarfism with the Little People of America, to give them this space where they can take their message, not just across the nation, but globally.
This week we've brought in some great help, in the form of Matt Roloff, Bill Kline, and Jen Arnold, who are all little people on TV, but with their own very successful careers outside of TV. They have all also combated the trials and tribulations of what it is like to be a little person. They came in this week and they sat down with me, and talked very openly from the heart about what it's like to be a little person in day-to-day life. When you think about it there really hasn't been much that has been done for little people, ever. We got to change that, gang. I hope from us being here this week there's a lot more awareness raised for little people, because they need the same rights as everybody else.
I think Hailey's future is very bright because of her parents, who have jumped feet first into this little people world. You know, they didn't have to do as much as they've done. They could have just made sure she was given a comfortable life. The fact that they are advocates for dwarfism across America, and across the planet, with their website and the Understanding Dwarfism center is truly incredible. Hailey's gonna be given the chance to do everything that average kids do, and I think that is something special.
I always try and take away something from every single build I do, and this week I think I've really learned a big lesson in not staring. From what I've learned, a long stare can be just as negative as a negative comment. After meeting the people I've met this week, whether they're average height or, whether they're little, they're just good people. They're just people who wanna be accepted in this life and make the best of it all and I think that's something we should give everyone the opportunity to do.