Season 6
Martirez/Malek Family
Martirez/Malek Family
Season 6 | Episode 607 | Aired 11/08/2008

We’re presented with two separate stories of ordinary people struggling to overcome their burdensome disadvantages while trying to live life to the fullest.

First we meet former pediatric cancer nurse Dawn Martirez of St. Louis, Missouri. This brave woman took care of terminally ill kids her whole life, but one thing she never expected was that her medical experience would prepare her for the care of her own children.

Dawn and husband Emmanuel have a daughter, Elle, and twins Evan and Alec. We’re saddened to find out that Evan has an extremely rare genetic condition called 9P minus, and Alec has another uncommon genetic disorder known as Crouzon Syndrome. Both twins require extensive corrective facial and cranial surgeries, with Evan having physical handicaps and mental retardation, and Alec being profoundly hearing impaired.

We come to find that Dawn had to stop working as a nurse in order to take care of the twins full time. As the boys get older, the home’s cramped narrow hallways, steep stairs, crumbling driveway and single, handicapped inaccessible bathroom pose great problems for them and slow their development. 

Next we learn about Sam Malek, of Ballwin, Missouri. Sam has endured 29 surgeries for his cerebral palsy over the past 40 years. He recently took out a second mortgage on his home to purchase a small coffee shop that insists on the motto, “Helping Challenged People One Cup at a Time.” Sam employs disabled individuals to help him, and donates a portion of the profits to local charities. However, the shop is plagued by cramped space, termite infestation and lack of proper equipment, hindering the workers’ potential.

We watch as Ty and the designers travel to Missouri and step up to the challenge of equipping the Martinez’s home to accommodate the twins’ special needs, while also making over Sam Malek’s coffee shop at the same time.


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