In Sunday evening’s episode of DIY SOS: The Big BuilD Ireland, the crew of volunteers came to the aid of a family of four that needed help for three of its members.
The Parsons family in Longwood, originally applied for a much-needed extension to cater for one son’s needs, but it soon became clear that an adapted home would be better for two other members of the family as well.
Mum Jen applied to DIY SOS looking for help for her youngest son, seven-year-old Josh, who has Smith-Magennis Syndrome, a severe developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body. Josh is non-verbal, peg-fed and uses a wheelchair; he is unable to walk, crawl or sit unaided and is often in pain.
In addition to Josh’s needs, his older brother Ryan, who is nine, is autistic. He has sensory requirements and needs space and quiet time, which was difficult to find in their original house.
Jen also has health issues that affect her mobility and her wellbeing. “She’s been in pain most of her life, definitely all her adult life,” her husband Glen said. “She just gets on with it.” “If I told everyone about my pains, it would go on all day long,” Jenn added. “When I let myself think about the future, it scares me something terrible. I need to be here for as long as possible for Josh. It scares me to think anything might happen to me. I try not to think about it.”
Joining the volunteers with a paint roller in hand to help with finishing touches was Boyzone star Keith Duffy, whose daughter is autistic. He said seeing the crew transforming the family’s home was “quite emotional and quite mind-blowing”.
In their new home, complete with castle in the garden for the Disney-loving Parsons and a new sensory room for the boys, the team provided them with much-needed space as well as the sensory and practical requirements that will make a huge difference in their lives. Josh’s bed is now easily observed from Jen’s bedroom and geography-loving Ryan has a bedroom with an atlas covering the walls.
Speaking to the volunteers, Jen said they have changed her family’s life. “What you’ve all done in nine days is nothing short of magical. You’ve made a home where my babies can be children again. You’ve taken so many of our worries and concerns for the future away. You’re always my heroes.”
The staff of Barry’s Fireplaces from Navan also put their shoulder to the wheel
and took to their social media to reveal they were ‘Delighted to help.’