Vicki and Erik Swenson-Lee were living a normal and financially stable life until tragedy struck on September 22, 2006. Vicki's sister, Teri Lee, was murdered in her home by Teri's estranged ex-boyfriend, leaving behind four children -- Taylor (12), her younger sister, Tara (6) and two sons, Ty (10) and Trevor (8). The children were now orphans because their father had been killed in a car accident in 2001.
Vicki has tried to turn this tragedy into an opportunity to help protect women and children from domestic violence. In honor of her late sister, she has helped write two bills that have recently been passed into legislation. Both will hopefully save many lives.
The Swenson-Lees invited their four nieces and nephews to become part of their immediate family. Vicki and Erik have three young daughters and are expecting a fourth in November. Their current home is too small, and they're afraid their teachers' salaries won't be sufficient to raise eight children. Due to financially difficulties, Vicki and Erik can't afford to renovate their small home to make it large enough for everyone.
Having overcome a great deal of pain and hardship in the past several years, it's time for this family to be rewarded for their strength and courage. While Ty, the designers, local builder TJB Homes, Inc., and hundreds of volunteers and workers are rebuilding their home in just seven days, the Swenson-Lee family will go on vacation in Disneyland.
The design team for this episode will feature team leader Ty Pennington and designers Paul DiMeo, Michael Moloney, Paige Hemmis and Tracy Hutson. Also notable for this build, family members from eight previous episodes over the years turn out to work as special volunteers.
This season every episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is going green by incorporating eco-friendly, low-energy and recyclable resources in the builds. On "Swenson-Lee Family," a rain garden was built -- a planted depression designed to take excess rainwater run-off from house plants, absorb other excess water and return water vapor to the atmosphere.