Ryan and Karia Stockdale are high school sweethearts who married right after graduation. They now have four children, all of whom suffer from a rare yet devastating disease known as Eosinophilic Enteropathy. EE is a white blood cell disease that attacks proteins, preventing the ingestion and digestion of food. It also affects and causes diseases of the lungs, kidneys, blood, intestines and immune system.
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Kayden, the healthiest Stockdale child, was born with Gastroschisis, in which the intestines are outside the body. He underwent two surgeries to repair the defect. In addition to EE, he also struggles daily with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder and Tourette's Syndrome. Jetty, now five, was diagnosed with EE after suffering through two years of pneumonia and various infections. Unable to eat food, he and his four-year-old sister, Baylee, are fed with the help of feeding tubes. Jetty is excited to begin kindergarten next year, but will likely need to be home-schooled due to the severity of his medical condition. Baylee's EE recently sent her to the emergency room to undergo a four-hour surgery after her feeding tube was changed incorrectly. She spent the next two weeks in ICU, fighting for her life. She still experiences infections that resulted from the surgery, and her disease continues to spread. The youngest Stockdale, two-year-old McKinnon, was born two months premature, weighing in at only three pounds. She was diagnosed with EE six months ago and doctors fear that the disease is spreading to her lungs, as it has with her brother, Jetty.
The family's father, Ryan, has his own share of health problems, having been diagnosed with Migraine Glaucoma, which recently caused his brother to go blind. Ryan has undergone multiple brain scans and spinal taps in an attempt to treat his problem. Despite his own medical problems, Ryan always puts his children first, and returned to college to study biology and immunology in the hopes of one day finding a cure for his children's disease. Karia acts as the family nurse, staying home and caring for the kids. While pregnant with McKinnon, Karia suffered a rare complication which forced her to undergo five major surgeries and 30 blood transfusions, during which she spent four months in ICU.
Despite the family's medical setbacks, Karia and Ryan stay active in their community. They created a book drive for their alma mater, Middleton High School, after the library was destroyed, and also ran an instrument drive for the school. Karia is a weekly tutor at Middleton Mill Creek Elementary and is also the head of a humanitarian group that helps those in need all over the country. She and her quilting group recently sent 40,000 quilts to victims of Hurricane Katrina. The family home only exacerbates the children's illnesses, with its coal-burning furnace causing the kids to cough constantly and break out in hives. They get their water from an indoor well and, due to the weak plumbing system, can only run one water-using appliance at a time.
The Stockdale family battles illness on a daily basis, but their love and support for each other helps them get by. Now it's up to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to pull together to give them a healthy home that will provide the whole family with a place to recover.
While Ty and the designers, local builder CBH Homes and hundreds of volunteers and workers are rebuilding their home in just seven days, the Stockdale family will vacation at the Hilton in Philadelphia.