The world is about to become a lot more open for Vienna Kennedy.
The eight-year-old was born with arthrogryposis, a muscle syndrome that hampers her mobility and forces her to use a walker.
In recent years, getting around her family’s Regina home has become more of a struggle.
“We have some challenges with, certainly, going up and down stairs, things like getting into a bathtub,” her father, Jared Kennedy, said. “A traditional bathroom like the one we have currently just doesn’t fit the bill.”
The bathroom provides the biggest obstacle in the family’s home. When they began getting quotes from builders earlier this year, workers decided to take things one step further.
Collaborative Construction’s Derek Wu and Superior Garage’s Brandon Fuchs reached out to other tradespeople to plan a free, top-to-bottom renovation of the Kennedy’s home. They’ve formed the non-profit ‘Build Love’ as a result.
“Full exterior renovation, top to bottom, addition included,” Wu explained. “Interior, you’re going to see the removal of quite a few interior walls as well. Not just the bathroom, but a kitchen, the flooring, the cabinetry, the counter-tops, the trim work, all of which will be changed.”
Construction materials that are in good condition will be salvaged and donated to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Now, more than 40 tradespeople are taking on the massive task of a full renovation in just two months. Shovels will be in the ground in September, until the big reveal in early November.
“They were like ‘can we surprise you with a few other things?’ and we were just overwhelmed,” Liana Kennedy said. “I think it’ been a miracle throughout the whole process.”
As barriers are removed, Vienna has thrived with ever-growing independence. She gets in and out of bed, prepares her own breakfast, keeps busy with crafts and is learning to play the harp.
“All the circumstances don’t have to be perfect or the way we imagined in order to have joy,” Liana added. “We’ve been really blessed through the journey.”
She hopes a house with increased accessibility will aid her daughter as she grows, and give the family peace of mind; though things have taken a hectic turn as they prepare to move into a relative’s home for the duration of the renovation.
Still in its infancy, Build Love is aiming to complete a similar project once a year in the future in hopes of impacting more families like the Kennedys.