Family returns home to find renovated house

February 12, 2006|By Trish Rudder


The Shingletons' Berkeley Springs home was in the midst of renovations when the family left for North Carolina, where 10-year-old Adrianna was to be treated for leukemia.

When Paul and Lisa Shingleton brought their daughter home four months later, they found that friends and strangers had joined forces to complete the renovation work, and more.

"When we left, the kitchen was torn apart - it was in the process of refinishing, and the upstairs was also in renovation," said Lisa Shingleton, Adrianna's mother. "But God showed us that he can take an impossible situation and turn it into a blessing."

Adrianna, who had undergone six months of chemotherapy in 2003 after being diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, had been in remission for 16 months. Last June, the leukemia recurred, her mother said.


After two weeks of chemotherapy in July, Adrianna again was in remission, and Lisa Shingleton said they were referred to Duke University Hospital for further treatment.

The family traveled to Durham, N.C., on Aug. 1, and would remain there until December.

Adrianna had one week of chemotherapy and one week of radiation therapy in preparation for a Sept. 6 bone marrow transplant.

Fourteen days after the transplant tests indicated all was going well, the family learned Adrianna would be able to go home in December.

Meanwhile, the family was told Adrianna would have to live in a "germ-free" environment for about a year because her immune system had been suppressed in order for the transplant to be successful, Lisa Shingleton said.

So she called her friend, Lori Sipes, and asked if she would clean the house for Adrianna's return.

Sipes and some family members began cleaning, but Sipes soon realized that more was called for.

Giving from their hearts

Because of the ongoing renovations, some walls were not covered and insulation was exposed. The well water had a lot of iron in it, and a water treatment system needed to be installed. The house needed air purifiers. The basement was damp due to poor water runoff, and the ground around the house needed to be regraded, Logsdon said.

Contractors found that major structural changes and updated electrical wiring were needed.

Sipes went to The Home Depot to ask for some drywall.

"I figured all they could say was 'no' and it doesn't hurt to ask," she said.

The store became the first of a number of companies to donate goods and/or services, Sipes said.

"People gave from their hearts," she said.

Sipes also asked her friend, Molly Logsdon, for help.

Logsdon said that Paul Shingleton, who is a carpenter, had been renovating the house himself, but under the circumstances, some help was needed.

Logsdon said she e-mailed 52 of her friends, asking if they could volunteer time or knew of anyone who could help.

"We knew it needed to be done and people would say 'how?' So we made a 'needs' list and a 'wish' list," Logsdon said. "People wanted to be part of this - to renovate this home."

Work began on Sept. 11, Sipes said.

'Miracle after miracle'

More than 200 people came - from Morgan and Berkeley counties in West Virginia, from Winchester, Va., from Cumberland, Md., and Hagerstown.

They did carpentry work, painted and did electrical work. They cleaned up the yard, removed trees and installed a driveway.

Earl Young and Tommy Shade, owners of Tel Builders in Martinsburg, W.Va., donated a shower surround with a bathtub, Logsdon said, adding the company was instrumental in getting other companies to volunteer time and resources.

Daniel Gantt, owner of Gantt's Excavating and Construction Co. in Martinsburg, put in a driveway.

Gantt said he rerouted the driveway and put down a shale base and stone on top. He also regraded around the house to redirect the water that was keeping the basement wet.

"We told him what we needed, but then he told us what he wanted to do, and it was so much more," Sipes said.

A landscaping firm is donating shrubs and grass that will be put in this spring, Logsdon said.

There was "miracle after miracle," she said.

Jackie Miller of Culligan Water Conditioning in Winchester said that company donated an ultraviolet sterilization system, and Stoner Enterprises in Hagerstown donated a reverse osmosis drinking water system to give the family a "good bacterial-free water supply."

Sunset Water Systems in Martinsburg donated the iron and sulfur filtering system. Owner Craig Blair said, "we wanted to help the little girl."

Making it over

The upstairs bedrooms and the kitchen were refinished, Logsdon said.

Energy-efficient windows were installed, carpeting was removed and hardwood floors put down. The house now has a new hot water heater and new washing machine, all new appliances and new light fixtures, Logsdon said, and "there is all new paint inside and out."

The deck was renovated and made structurally sound, and a new front door was installed.

A piano was donated by some friends in the Cumberland area, Logsdon said.

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