Season 6
Riojas Family
Riojas Family
Season 6 | Episode 617 | Aired 03/07/2009

An inspirational disabled mother of four who has overcome so much now faces daily struggles in her cramped and crumbling house.

In this week’s episode, we are encouraged hearing Mary Ann Riojas’ story. Mary Ann of Fresno, California, is truly an individual without limits. Tragically born without legs and with only one fully developed arm, she grew up in poverty and was placed in foster care. At the age of five, she was introduced to the Easter Seals organization—an integral part of her life.

From a young age, Mary Ann was determined to be independent and active, playing hopscotch and doing her own chores.  She worked hard to finish high school, got married and had four children. The family struggled financially.  She continued to persevere, getting a driver’s license, a college degree and a job with the Easter Seals.  In fact, Mary Ann was selected as the California Ambassador for Easter Seals, and later their National Ambassador—her job taking her across the U.S., telling her story both in schools and in the workplace, encouraging others to reach for success.

After hearing all that Mary Ann has overcome so far in her life we are absolutely shocked to learn the daily struggles she now faces in her home—she must leave her wheelchair to enter the bedroom and bathroom she shares with her three teen daughters; the steps into the living room and garage are dangerous, and she is unable to cook in the kitchen which was not designed for someone in a wheelchair.  Mary Ann’s children are concerned for her safety, especially when she is home alone.

We applaud as Ty arrives with the designers and the volunteer crew in Fresno.  Mary Ann has faced many obstacles head-on in her life, and now the EM:HE team is here to give back to this woman with such a big heart—a home designed to meet her special needs.


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