Season 3 | Episode 14 | Aired 01/15/06
Thanks to their tenacious eleven-year-old daughter, Jael, the Kirkwood family from Port Orchard, WA will receive a new home designed by Ty and the gang of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
One year ago, eleven-year-old Jael Kirkwood completed an application for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for her family, but didn't hear back from anyone. The Kirkwoods gave up, but not Jael. Instead, she tracked down Sweet Alice Harris from a previous episode and asked for advice on how to get her family's application read by show producers. Sweet Alice suggested that she contact her local mayor, and that's exactly what Jael did.
Mayor Kim Abel of Port Orchard, remembers getting a call from then 10-year-old Jael and, moved by the girl's sheer determination, contacted the casting department on her behalf.
What's striking is that she almost didn't live to do this for her beloved family: When she was just four hours old, Jael had to have emergency surgery to remove half of her small intestine in order to save her life. She then spent the next several months in and out of different hospitals. At ten months, Jael weighed only 9 lbs.
The Kirkwood family has been through a lot, but the biggest problem they're facing now is the hazardous black mold that has taken over their house. When their contractor skipped out, the mold moved in. Exposed wiring, open walls and poor ventilation left the Kirkwoods without the much-needed extra space their basement would have provided, and right now all four girls share one tiny room. But the tenacity of one girl will pay off when Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, along with local builder Howland Homes, pull together to give Jael and her family the home they deserve.
While the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition design team, contractors and hundreds of workers and volunteers are transforming the Kirkwoods' house into a dream home, they will go on vacation to Walt Disney World.
The design team for this episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will feature team leader Ty Pennington, as well as Preston Sharp, Paul DiMeo, Tracy Hutson, and Tanya McQueen.