Season 5
Carter Family
Carter Family
Season 5 | Episode 502 | Aired 10/20/2007

Julie Carter suffers from a genetic disorder known as Chiari Malformation, as does her 21-year-old daughter, Jade. She fears her other two daughters may have it as well. Julie and Jade have had several brain surgeries costing over $500,000. This condition has over 85 symptoms -- which makes it very easy to misdiagnose -- and causes depression and chronic fatigue. Julie has made it her passion to spread awareness of the rare disorder and has become a hero to thousands. She writes a monthly newsletter to Chiari patients, providing them support, compassion and valuable information, which she assembles and distributes with her own money. She also started Chiari People of Montana, a support group. With her success, she was recently asked to run the first Chiari Malformation chapter in Billings. This is a bittersweet honor, since her makeshift office is hardly suitable for getting out her newsletters.

Julie is so consumed with helping others that she rarely thinks of her own living situation -- which is a refurbished chicken coup -- but the astronomical medical bills are a regular reminder that there's little chance their house will ever be fixed. From the outside their home looks like a long warehouse; the exterior walls are buckling and some of the windows are cracked, which makes it tough in the brutal Montana winter. They've made the best of the interior, but the cracks in the floor and the unusable space makes heating the place expensive. It's now up to the design team to get this family out of the chicken coop and into a healthy house, and to reward this selfless mother with a state of the art facility where she can run the Billings chapter of Chiari. While Ty and the designers, local builder Jeff Junkert Construction, Inc. and hundreds of volunteers and workers are rebuilding their home, the Carter family will go on vacation at the Hilton Times Square in New York City.

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