Chris and Charlene Adam were well on their way to transforming their ‘fixer-upper’ in Aldergrove.
Then, health issues stopped them on a dime.
Chris has lived with multiple sclerosis for many years and finally had to go on long-term disability. Charlene suffered a stroke a year-and-a-half ago and took five months off work to recover.
As a result of the stroke, Charlene lost all feeling on the right side of her body and has not yet recovered completely. She’s now working part time, which is all she can manage.
The MS has kept Chris from working altogether. He worked as a supervisor for a local fireplace company and before that was a welder for 30 years.
“The last two years it’s been getting worse and worse,” Chris said, about his MS. “Fatigue, pain, muscle loss, memory loss… guess that about covers it.”
“He’s on a downhill slope right now,” added Charlene.
Meanwhile, the couple’s aspirations for renovating their 45-year-old split level house ground to a halt, save for a roof that was replaced to keep the home dry, upgraded windows to help with unmanageable electric heat bills and energy efficient gas fireplaces.
“Everything needed to be upgraded,” Charlene said.
“The laundry room downstairs, the floors… everything’s 12 years old or original,” Chris said, adding that the home needs a major electrical overhaul, “and that’s been a problem since we moved in (12 years ago). It was a very Mickey Mouse electrical job in here.
“We call it the house of the undone.”
Enter the Extreme Home Repair (EHR) team. EHR is an program launched 15 years ago by Acts of Kindness (AOK), a community outreach of Langley’s Church in the Valley: a Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Established in 2004, the EHR project annually transforms the home of a local individual or family facing difficult circumstances related to their housing and resources.
Chris and Charlene and their children including 21-year-old Brad (who lives on his own), Johnny, 18, Michael, 15, and Amanda, 12, are the main recipients of the 15th EHR project.
Church in the Valley associate pastor Mike Dauncey has been involved with EHR since its inception, and said the family are worthy recipients.
“What impressed us about Chris and Charlene is they bought this house 12 years ago as a fixer-upper, it needed a lot of work, and so they did start fixing things,” Dauncey said. “They’ve put a lot of work into the house already.”
But Chris’s MS has “totally inhibited him from continuing construction work,” Dauncey added.
“The money’s not there, the health is not there, and we see that they were interested in fixing this house. They did the best they could with what they have, and so that really impressed us. They’re actively trying to fix this house up. So we’re going to come in here and finish it up for them, to help them out.”
Dauncey said EHR has a way of bringing people together. Each year, the project draws more than 200 volunteers — many of whom are from Church in the Valley — along with dozens of community-minded businesses, friends, family and neighbours, to give the selected recipients a fresh start in a comfortable environment.
“It’s just so awesome to see the community come together with one purpose — to help a family in need,” he said. “It’s beautiful to see.”
The family moves out today (May 2) to allow the work to start, and will return to their home Victoria Day Monday (May 21) for the reveal.
The Adams are looking forward to Victoria Day, when they walk into their house for the first time in nearly three weeks.
“The house will be more livable for us in the future,” Chris said.
“Because we don’t know what the future holds,” Charlene offered.
Interested in volunteering? Call 604-514-8335, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit actsofkindness.ca.