Friday, October 28, 2011

Extreme Makeover Home Edition: The McPhail Family

Do you remember me telling you about my friend in Oregon and how her family was chosen to receive an Extreme Makeover Home Edition? Well, their 2-hour episode will air tonight on ABC at 8:00pm!
My friend Lindsay and her husband C.J. have 3 adorable boys, and 2 of them are diagnosed on the autism spectrum. I was so excited the whole week of their makeover and you may remember me posting many updates about it on Facebook.
I wasn’t able to be in Oregon to help (although I would have loved to have been there in person!), so I participated as best as I could from here. I had the opportunity to help with fundraising through an auction, and I also found a web broadcast of the live news coverage of their reveal. I was bawling. So, take that as fair warning that you better have a box of Kleenex at the ready before you turn on the show tonight.  
I thought you might like a little background on their story. This is courtesy of a September 7, 2011 write-up from the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Facebook page:
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to Medford, Oregon, to surprise the McPhail family with the door knock that can change lives.
As a young newly married couple, C.J. and Lindsay McPhail decided they wanted to spend their lives helping others. They started the Southern Oregon Chapter of Sparrow Clubs, a non-profit organization, which helps children with medical issues by pairing them with a school which adopts them as their school’s "Sparrow." C.J. found himself speaking to students, businesses, and anyone who would listen about the incredible power Sparrow Clubs gives to both students and Sparrows. His amazing ability as a public speaker motivated thousands of students to raise funds, perform service work, and create programs all in the name of their Sparrow. Not only were C.J. and Linsday a part of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for kids with medical needs, they were also able to help transform schools through challenging students to look beyond themselves and serve.
C.J. and Lindsay never imagined though they would one day need the help from the very same organization they devoted so much of their time to. Soon after moving to Portland and running a chapter there, their oldest son Sawyer was diagnosed with a form of Autism and their second oldest son Thatcher began to start showing signs of Autism as well. With their children regressing, the family moved back to Medford to live on a 50-acre family property next to Lindsay’s parents. The boys showed great progress, but Sawyer still faced several challenges due to his lack of social cues. Much to the family’s surprise, Sawyer became a Sparrow and through his endearing personality, he helped put a face on autism and brought awareness to over 900 students in his adopted school.
Ty and the design team head to the community of Medford, Oregon to surprise the McPhail family. CJ and Lindsay McPhail have dedicated their lives to helping their community in many ways but especially children with severe medical needs. After years of helping families in difficult circumstances, they were dealt a devastating blow when two of their own three young boys were diagnosed with autism. Despite their difficulties, the McPhails still continue to give back to their community. This week The McPhails are sent off on a spectacular Hawaiian vacation while Ty and the designers summon a volcano to take down the house and build them a custom designed home to help their family deal with the special challenges autism brings. This week, Ty and the team are helped out with some very special guests. Temple Grandin gives some insight on the world of autism, while Chris Powell from “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” sheds light on the benefits of gluten-free cooking, then sticks around to help build a boot camp that mom Lindsay can run out of her home. Later, they team up with Autism Speaks to “Light it up Blue” all around the world to spread autism awareness.

I had a chance to speak with Lindsay the other day as we counted down to the airing of her family’s episode. This is what she shared with me:
My biggest soap box during the whole week and really in life in general was that I want parents of kids on the spectrum to know that they are not alone...that there are millions of us around the world and while are children all struggle with different issues, we are sisters in the fight! Just like my plight to all moms I think that we have to be real about our struggles as moms and feelings of guilt and inadequacy and then know that NO ONE has it ALL together.

I am really hoping that ABC chooses to use some of the ample footage of meltdowns the boys had throughout the week and not just show the fun shots. I want people to see autism...maybe not our scary meltdowns (just because I want to honor our boys) but we had plenty of TV appropriate meltdowns.
If you would like to see more from this wonderful family, visit the McPhail family Facebook page. You can also view lots of great pictures of their new home being built at the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Jackson County Facebook page. And, there is some great footage of Lindsay and her husband C.J. as they speak to the media for the first time after the reveal.
And, just so you know… Lindsay is a wonderful autism mommy blogger and small business owner. Please check out her cool blogging community, Earth Monkey Moms, and her company, Earth Monkeys, which makes an eco-friendly line of portable baby and toddler accessories that are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. 
I wish them nothing but love. They are a wonderful family and I am honored to call Lindsay my friend.

(One last thing! Please do me a huge favor. I don’t have cable, so don’t spoil the juicy details of the show for me! I have to wait until it’s posted on the ABC website before I can watch it! Be nice and don’t spill the beans. Thanks!


Earth Monkey Moms said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! We are excited to see where God takes us as this episode airs! Big Hugs!! Linz:)

Accidental Expert said...

That is so cool. I'm setting my dvr for this one.

Kim said...

Dear Lindsay,
Have you heard of the fermented rice crepes called dosa? These can be made very inexpensively from rice and your choice of lentil and are gluten free. These are a staple in south India. :-) best of luck to you are in inspiration.

Jennifer said...

I'm currently watching the Extreme Makeover show and thought I'd search to learn more about the McPhail family. Thanks for the background.

Caffeinated Autism Mom said...

Thanks to ABC for posting the episode online so quickly! I just finished watching it and it was as amazing as I imagined. It was BETTER than I imagined. The McPhail family is an inspiration and so deserving of this amazing blessing. I cried, laughed, and cried some more. It was so moving. And, can I just state the obvious? Those little boys are crazy adorable!

Isreal Ayele said...

I watched this episode, and boy, was it a tear-jerker. The couple's passion for helping others is so genuine and motivating. I wish there would be more of people like them around.

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