Weekly Feature



2013-08-15 / Front Page

House remodel gives twin girls a comfortable home

by JULIE HALM Editor


Debbie Geary stands in one of the newly remodeled rooms in her home. Her twin daughters, Ashley, left, and Amber, have cerebral palsy, and the work on the home has made life easier for the whole family, including older sister Amanda. 
Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Debbie Geary stands in one of the newly remodeled rooms in her home. Her twin daughters, Ashley, left, and Amber, have cerebral palsy, and the work on the home has made life easier for the whole family, including older sister Amanda. Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Amber Geary pumped both fists in the air at the mention of her own room on the first floor of her home. The gesture came at a ribbon-cutting on Monday morning.

Amber is one of a pair of Depew twins with cerebral palsy. For the better part of a decade, her parents, Tim and Debby, have been battling everything from state restrictions to financial limits in order to make the house as comfortable as possible for 15-year-old Amber and her twin sister, Ashley.

In 2011, the Gearys met Sen. Tim Kennedy during a “Senator on your Street” event. With the help of the senator, village officials, local businesses, friends and family, an addition has been added to the Geary home that includes a patient lift running from room to room for Ashley, wider hallways for the motorized wheelchairs, rooms outfitted to meet the needs of both girls and a handicap-accessible bathroom, located on the first floor.

“This really helped Ashley and I improve the quality of our lives,” said Amber.

Amber usually moves around on the ground when she is at home, but she said that making it up the stairs is a major, daily challenge.

“My hip will freeze up, and I won’t be able to move,” she said.

Not only have the additions to the home made life easier for the girls, but according to Amber, it has given her parents more peace of mind as well. In the past, they had to be present all of the time in order to move Ashley around the home. She had to be carried upstairs, which became difficult as she grew up. Now a motorized lift can be used to get the girls to their first-floor bathroom with the help of a nurse.

According to a Kennedy representative, the state had initially approved an exterior elevator for the house, as restrictions would not have allowed them to increase its square footage. This option would have been more costly and less convenient, however; so Kennedy and members of his office worked to get the case considered on an individual basis.

Their work paid off, and that is where the remainder of the community stepped in. Companies from Besroi Roofing to Joey’s Pizza donated time, money and man hours to the project to make comfortable living a reality for the twins.

“They opened their hearts, opened their minds and opened their wallets,” said Kennedy, who was an occupational therapist.

DiPizio Construction was integral in the completion of the project, according to Kennedy and the family, and Rosanne DiPizio was at the ceremony to say a few words.

“My brother, Dan, started about 20 months ago with a simple request and he just never let it go,” said DiPizio. “When we’ve had tough days, it’s this project that reminds us what we’re here for.”

According to Kennedy, the idea of this project extends well beyond the family, with a message being sent to the state that it should be a primary goal to enable families to care for their disabled loved ones in their home, so they are not separated by the need for outside care.

email: julieh@beenews.com

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