The Akers Family by Greg Zabilski/ABC, Michael Moloney by Bob D' Amico/ABC
So this season, we're all about celebrating heroes and this week were celebrating the Akers family in beautiful Holt, Michigan.
There's no shortage of heroes in the Akers' home. Greg and Ginger Akers have three children, Christian, Brooke, and Faith. Little Brooke and Faith suffer from SMA, spinal muscular atrophy. It's a horribly debilitating disease, and they can't walk. They're in chairs, and this house is working against them. Spinal muscular atrophy is the number one genetic killer of children under two years old. One in 40 people carry the gene and one out of 6,000 children are born with it. The fact that these two girls have SMA is bad enough, but Greg and his son Christian both have Crones disease, which is a gastrointestinal disease that can be devastatingly painful. Despite their conditions, this family wakes up every morning with a smile on their face, and they always put others first. To me, that's a true hero.
When you open the front door to the Akers' old home, you are met with two obstacles, a staircase that goes straight up, and one that goes down. Anywhere Brooke and Faith want to go in the house means that either Ginger or Greg have to carry them physically, they're getting bigger, and it's been very taxing. Ginger actually just had hernia surgery because of this. Our goal this week is to build a home where that won't have to happen. Where the kids can roll in through the front door, go anywhere in the house.
Brooke and Faith are amazing girls. They have such vitality and such spirit and they inspire so many people. These little girls can't walk, their future is unknown, but their attitude is phenomenal. They have rallied this community and that's why we're here this week. This community loves them and we want to build them a home that will make their lives a lot easier. This is going to create a huge relief for the entire family.
It really helps us to know that a community is behind a family. Twenty five thousand people wrote to us and said please help the Akers family. It's phenomenal. Twenty five thousand people know about this family, care about this family, and took the time to put pen to paper and say please help them they need it. So together with our incredibly generous builder, Scott Dallis of Dallis Designer Homes and Jeff Weiland of Weiland Builders, Inc., we are going to answer this call to arms.
I'm taking care of the great room, living room, dining room, the kitchen, the master bedroom, master bathroom, and also a room for mom where she can do her scrap booking. To me the kitchen's like the nucleolus of the house. It's where the whole family can come together, unfortunately, not in this current house. There's no way the family can all get in there. The girls would love to be able to help mom out and cook and that's not happening. But it's going to happen in the new house. I'm going to give them a big kitchen that's going to have nice, wide aisle ways so they can get anywhere they want to be, and I'm going to lower the countertop down so the girls can wheel right up to it and get in there and make cookies and milkshakes.
I met some great people while out talking to the community. I ran into this lovely woman who has dedicated her life to SMA and trying to find a cure. She has two children that were both born with the disease, and it's pretty ironic that her two kids are born in the same family, much like the Akers family. She was so full of information and hope, and I think that's what we're here for this week. We're here to raise awareness and get the word out there that this exists, and raise the money so that one day we can find a cure. ABC's
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition airs Sundays at 8 pm/ET.