When a young girl was diagnosed with sun poisoning, it completely changed her life and that of her family. She is unable to go outside without first completely covering her body with a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, hat and gloves. Since the sun can also penetrate her clothing, she must apply full body sunscreen every two hours. With the combined effort from the team of designers, contractors, hundreds of workers and state-of-the-art technology, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition created a new living space that will enhance the quality of her life while making her living conditions much less restrictive.
Shelby Pope was just six years old when she learned seven years ago that she had polymorphic light eruption, also known as sun poisoning. If any part of her body is exposed to sunshine, a rash of small red spots or blisters appear on her body. It tends to heal without scarring but, despite medication and careful efforts, Shelby’s skin breaks out and she endures excruciating headaches. Shelby is in junior high school and, except for attending a night camp for people with her condition, she usually stays in her tiny bedroom with the windows covered. She doesn’t get the chance to do all the things young girls her age enjoy, such as going to the mall, the beach or camping.
As a result, Shelby and her family spend little or no time outdoors together. All vacations have stopped. Her parents tried to make renovations, but they didn’t have the financial resources to do such things as tinting all of the windows of the house or of the family car.
While the house underwent its transformation, Shelby’s parents, Matt, an accountant, and Caroline, a special education assistant, and Shelby’s nine-year-old sister, Madison, went on a family vacation to Washington, DC, staying at the Wyndham Hotel.