In February 2004, Jhyrve was diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder Krabbe Disease (pronounced Crab-ay), which is caused by an enzyme deficiency. Her only chance of survival was to receive a new treatment in which she’d be given a cord blood transplant at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina. So in March 2004, Jhyrve relocated cross-country with her mother, Karen, to start treatment. After undergoing rounds of chemotherapy and then receiving her cord blood transplant, Jhyrve has spent the last several months recovering and rebuilding her immune system. Although the transplant was successful, the doctors at Duke would not let her go home to California until the mold infestation that threatened her weakened immune system had been removed from the home.
Jhyrve and her Mom have been living in North Carolina, paying rent at an apartment close to the hospital while still paying mortgage on their unoccupied house in California. Karen had to leave her job as a teacher’s aid to be with her sick daughter. The financial stress put on the family has left no money to fix up their home, while the emotional stress of not knowing when or even if they will return home continues to taunt them.
Meanwhile, near Oakland, California, Jhyrve’s 14-year-old brother, Lucas Sears, missed his mother at his eighth grade graduation but understands that she must stay in North Carolina with his sister until the house is fixed. In the last year, Karen has spent a mere six weeks with her growing son. For Jhyrve too, the hardest part has been being away from her friends and her younger brother.
The EM:HE team, contractors, workers and Pleasant Hill, California-based DeNova Homes were determined to meet the unique needs of the family, which included providing wheelchair access and improving the air quality by removing the mold and allergens in the Sears family’s1200-square-foot, three-bedroom, 1-3/4 bath home.