A dream home is one step closer to becoming a reality for a Centreville family.
Last month Daisy Gallant and Johnathan DeMerchant found out they were the recipients of a new home thanks to the Carleton County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Last Thursday evening, surrounded by friends and family at a vacant lot along Hawkins Road in Centreville, the couple took the first step towards completing their new home with a special sod-turning ceremony.
The kindness shown to her family has been remarkable, Gallant said, and has left her speechless.
“It is hard to put into words,” said Gallant. “It seems completely unreal an organization like Habitat for Humanity can do something like this for a family. This means a lot, and we are extremely grateful.”
The news is extra special for Gallant and DeMerchant as Habitat for Humanity will also create a safe environment for the couple’s young daughter Katlyn.
Nearly two years ago, the youngster was diagnosed with a severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) called adenosine deaminase (ADA) deficiency, a rare genetic disorder which forced the little one to live in an isolation room for the early part of her life.
Through gene therapy treatment sessions, the two-year-old was able to return home for Christmas last year and has since enjoyed a happy childhood, though she still has to be careful.
Katlyn’s new home will be equipped to protect her from infection, like installation of water filters on all of the taps in the home, so she can take a bath or drink the water from the tap without any worries.
“It is going to allow us to provide her with the safest environment possible, which is essential for her health,” added Gallant. “We are incredibly grateful for that.”
The young couple has struggled to get out of its one-bedroom apartment, said DeMerchant, due to numerous medical and travel expenses with young Katlyn.
“We travel so much and so often, it is hard to keep ahead,” DeMerchant said. “It is nice to have a chance like this.”
He added he is truly appreciative to see the community rally behind the project.
Even little Katlyn said she is excited about her new home and having her own room.
Gallant and DeMerchant’s home is the second one on the Carleton County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity list. Earlier this summer, the volunteer group finished its first project in Woodstock for Trent and Karen Davenport.
“It is our goal, if we can do it, to build a home a year somewhere in Carleton County,” said John Young, chairperson for the Carleton County projects. “There is lots of need, and we have lots of wonderful volunteers. Carleton County is so giving, it is making this all possible for us. It is fantastic.”
With the sod turning now complete, Young said construction is slated to begin on Tuesday morning, Sept. 2. With the number of volunteers and local companies pledging their support, he expects the three-bedroom home will be complete fairly quickly.
“This house will go up fairly fast, which will be wonderful,” Young said. “We would like to have the family in by Christmas.”
Being able to move in by Christmas is music to the family’s ears, said Gallant, and it certainly would make for a memorable holiday.
Last year, Gallant said, Katlyn was able to come home and celebrate Christmas for the first time with her family.
It would be wonderful to celebrate this year in the family’s new home, she added.
“It would be a great Christmas present for sure,” Gallant said.
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