WEST UNION - Sunday, October 2, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" traveled to West Union, Iowa, to surprise a family with the door knock that can change lives. Host Ty Pennington and the team of designers surprised the Gibbs family. Audrey Gibbs is a mother, a widow, a farm owner and a maternal optimist. Her husband died in August 2000, but Audrey won't let anything stop her from raising her six children; not even her blindness and her battle with a potentially fatal disease. Seven months after her husband died, Audrey had a brain aneurism that affected a quarter of her brain - leaving her legally blind and a surgery in May 2001. The doctors cannot say if she is going to lose her sight completely or even if she is going to live or die. Audrey has always been pragmatic and has no time for self-pity. She is passionately committed do whatever it takes to raise her kids. Realizing she could not continue working as a cosmetologist, Audrey decided to attend massage therapy classes, as she knew it was a career she could still practice after losing her sight. However, Audrey does worry about what will happen to her kids - should the worst happen. The Gibbs family own and live on a farm which they rent portions of to local farmers for additional income. Their farmhouse is in need of significant repair with no working toilet, a ceiling that is caving in and a layout that does not work for the family - especially Audrey if she completely loses her eyesight.The design team has just seven days to build a brand new home for the Gibbs family. The Gibbs family has been whisked away on a dream vacation to Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, while "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" team leader Ty Pennington, designers Paul DiMeo ,Tracy Hutson, Sabrina Soto, Jeff Dye and local builders Larson Construction Company, Inc. as well as community volunteers, build the structure.
"We are thrilled and honored that Larson Construction was chosen for this monumental effort to help the Gibbs Family. We've spent weeks planning and are now excited to begin construction on their new home," said Ed Larson, President of Larson Construction.
The public can help by making a monetary donation through the website www.joinextreme.com/iowa or make checks to Family/Build Fund, c/o BankIowa, PO Box 229, Independence, Iowa 50644. Funds raised will help pay for items for the family home, medical bills and other expenses.
The Emmy award winning reality program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, nowin its 9th season, is produced by Endemol USA, a division of EndemolHolding. It's executive-produced by Brady Connell and George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America. The show airs Sundays from7:00-8:00 p.m., CST on ABC.