Cerda Family Extreme Makeover sign now

Nearly 3 years ago, the Cerda family was nominated for a Makeover by Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Last October, they saw what they thought was their dream coming true as the production visited them and filmed for 2 days, telling them that they had "won the equivalent of the lottery" and that their family had already been selected as a finalist. As months went by, the Cerda family woke every morning, waiting by the window for what they thought was the inevitable in January....all the signs were there that they had won. In mid January, the devastating telephone call came that there had been a terrible mistake and that the casting member who came to their home no longer worked for the production company and had not honestly communicated with either the family or the producers of Extreme Makeover. The Cerda family was told that the show would never intentionally inflict this on a family already suffering. The Cerda Children, after painting pictures for Ty and drawing plans of their bedrooms, cried for a week following the news of the mistake. Producers promised to "make it right", telling the family that their story is extremely compelling and perfect for the show. But as months go by and the producers continue to send mixed signals, the Cerda's have little faith that their dream....a dream to provide a healthy home for their children is coming unraveled. The producers, who originally told the family that the show was not so much about the house as it was about the story, is now telling this fragile family that their home is too nice. Please read the Cerda family story and support their nomination. By doing so, you will show the producers that the chance to help thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, transcends finding a home that is falling apart.
8 years ago, the Cerda family brought their first child into the world. At first, Molly was a perfect, beautiful, thriving baby. Within the first year of her life, Molly began to experience life threatening respiratory tract infections that would later lead to a diagnosis of combined immune deficiency disease. Two years later, her younger sister was diagnosed with the same disease. Molly and Maggie now live their young lives predominately confined by the walls of their home until gene therapy catches up with their disease, a variant of the same disease that left David Vetter living hi short life in a bubble. They are 5 and 7. But it does not end there. At the same time the children were diagnosed, their mother, Terri began to experience a deterioration in her own health. At 3, she was diagnosed with the same disease. Now, at 46, Terri's own immune system stopped working. Without warning and over a short period of time, Terri's immune systems quit making B cells, the very cells that build antibodies and protect the body from infection.
This amazing family goes far beyond the bounds of human nature and, despite the terribly daily challenges that they face, including as many as 6 hours a day in treatment for their condition, the Cerda family shares their time and talent with children that are less fortunate. Terri has traveled to childrens cancer treatment centers and hospitals in 3 states as well as childrens education programs that focus on environmental preservation to paint murals. Her goal has been to give children an imaginary world to immerse themselves in, taking the focus off of the painful therapies that they must endure for diseases such as cancer and blood disorders. But it does not end there. At only 7 years of age, Molly (fighting for her own life) has donated over 100 hand crafted Native American Style Flutes to foundations that share art and music therapy with children diagnosed with terminal and life threatening medical conditions. Just today, Molly was awarded that Kohls Kids Who Care Local Scholarship Award. When asked why they do this, the Cerdas say that it is their therapy. They believe that God gave them this disease because they can use their suffering as a tool to strengthen others, and by doing so, they strengthen themselves and the focus on their own suffering dissolves. This past year, this family made in kind donations that raised in excess of $80,000 for the many foundations they support.
But it does not end there, this past year, Terri has shared her talent to speak with members of Congress and the Senate to support regarding issues that involve access to the medications that keep Terri and her children alive as well as education issues that focus on the population of underserved, long term, homebound children. When the casting members of Extreme Makeover Home Edition filmed this family, they cried as they watched the children go through their routine medical procedures that include infusions of plasma immune cells. With many members of the community that support the Cerdas standing near, the casting member turned, with tears in her eyes and said I have seen many things during my time with this show, but I have never seen anything like this. I dont know how you do it.
Not only does the family deal with the medical issues, but there is a slurry of side effects they are left to deal with the result from the disease. Molly and Maggie are profoundly gifted, with IQs in the high 150s. Normally, the school districts have a homebound program that would provide 5 hours a week of education to the children. Because of the childrens giftedness paired with the permanency of their homebound status and the fact that they are performing many years above their age based peers, the school district has abandoned them, forcing Terri to wear many hats, including teacher, nurse, wife and mother. In the home, there is one counter in the kitchen that serves as a school room; a hospital where the childrens medications and infusions are set up; a place where Terri runs the Artful Hearts Foundation; a place where the family build flutes and paints pictures for donations; and a place to eat and be a family.
What makes the entire situation even more shocking is that this mother, who wears all these hats, sits at this counter every week, starting IVs on herself to administer her own medications. Because the family is unable to pay for a nurse, they are forced to manage all of their own nursing care from inside the walls of their home.
Five years ago, the Cerdas purchased their first home. During a time when the market was at peak high, the Cerdas were forced to find a home that was in a state of disrepair. Within days of closing, the Cerdas nearly lost Maggie at only 2 years of age when she contracted a virus that put her in intensive care for several days. Against all odds, she survived. With no money in their pockets, Terri set out to make her home visually nice, realizing that this was their world. She covered up the damage of 4 floods with paint; she covered broken and leaking tiles with more tiles; she singlehandedly tore apart the kitchen that flooded and, using damaged cabinetry and appliances, cosmetically covered up the problems. She patched over the enormous hole in the bedroom ceiling where the air conditioner fell through and works seemingly nonstop to cover up the horrendous electrical and plumbing problems that hide behind the walls of their home. Elastomeric paint that Terri painted on the house hides the severe cracks that indicate foundation/slab problems. On appearance, the house if lovely, but underneath the paint and drywall, the households mold that is literally killing the children. Raw sewage is leaking into the floors beneath the toilets, further harming the childrens already fragile health. It is a nightmare that seemingly never ends for the Cerdas, but it is this cosmetic cover up that has apparently disqualified the Cerda family for and Extreme Makeover.
Knowing that this home is all they have to give their children a roof over their head, the Cerdas have gone to great length to never miss a mortgage payment. But the medical bills that top $78,000 monthly, have left this already fragile family struggling to put food on the table. Additionally, the Cerdas must travel out of state for the medical care that keeps them alive, creating an enormous financial burden for this family. Their father, a police officer, works long hours, but feels inadequate at meeting the needs of his family. But the boat is sinking and this family is on the verge of losing everything. But there is one thing that can save them
There are over 250,000 people diagnosed with Primary Immune Deficiency Disease, many are children. There is likely an equal number of undiagnosed cases, some that have lead to the early death of children across the nation. There has been little attention given to this disease that has left many families isolated as if hiding in a closet. The Cerda family is just one of these families. On the outside, the children appear normal and healthy, bright eyes and playful like any other child. But beautiful little bodies can hide terrible things. Little do those on the outside realize that these children go through hours of infusions, breathing therapies and other life sustaining therapies to stay alive.to be able to fight off infections that could prematurely take their lives for just one more week.
It would not be about building a house. It would not be about a single child struggling to live. It would not be about one persons drive to make the world a better place for medically fragile children. It would not be about just one father going above and beyond the call of duty. It WILL be about taking down the walls of a world that thousands of children cannot climb. It WILL be about putting a voice to 250,000 patients, children and adults, that are not heard. I WILL be about a village of people coming together for the common goal of opening the universe to a world of hidden, fragile children. It WILL be about bringing together thousands of families and a nation of viewers to re-define family by recognizing a disease that isolates children and forces them to grow up beyond their years; leaves them struggling to stay healthy; and for some..blows out the candle of life far too soon. It WILL teach that being human transcends the idea of being a hero and that each and every one of us has the ability to find a small part of ourselves to shareTO CHANGE JUST ONE LIFE..TO GROW A GARDEN..BECAUSE OF ONE HOUSE.BECAUSE OF ONE FAMILYTHAT COULD REPRESENT A COMMUNITY IN A WAY THAT COULD PROFOUNDLY CHANGE THE WORLD.
PLEASE sign this petition to show the producers of Extreme Makeover Home Edition that it is not about the house; that what they dont see because of the extreme dedication of this mother to her family and those around her is making her family sicker and tearing them apart; that it IS about the story and about making a difference for THOUSANDS of other children around this nation by using the Cerda families heartwarming story as a tool to make the world a better place. It WILL be about giving this incredible family a place where they can thrive and continue to give back to their community in the amazing ways they have.
Time is of the essence for this fragile family.

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