NEW WATERFORD, Ohio (WKBN) – Habitat For Humanity of the Mahoning Valley is almost finished making the life of a local girl living with a rare disease a little bit easier.
Sofia Angiuli, of New Waterford, is living with Leukodystrophy. The disease has taken away the 8-year-old’s ability to stand, hold her head up, or speak. Sofia and her family were in desperate need of an addition to her home to live safely and it’s now almost fully complete.
Sofia is wheelchair-bound. Her bedroom and her family’s only bathroom with a shower and bathtub was upstairs, making it difficult for everyday tasks like bath time. For some time, Sofia had a makeshift space in the playroom with her hospital-grade bed consuming most of it.
“It took up pretty much the whole room, so all of her supplies and everything were down in the basement,” said Stephanie Kale, Sophia’s mother. “Her clothes and everything were upstairs.”
Kale said Habitat for Humanity stepped in after Board President Scott Vlaiku saw WKBN’s previous story on Sofia and felt compelled to help.
Vlaiku met with the family to determine how to make an addition possible.
“Being a good person is fairly easy,” said Vlaiku. “And sometimes it’s donating money. Sometimes it’s donating time.”
A team comprised of mainly volunteers has been donating their time since last August to build an addition to Sofia’s home, allowing space for her very own first-floor bedroom. The addition also has a walk-in shower and closet along with plenty of space for her medical equipment, nurses, and family.
Mark Everly, director of construction, said he didn’t want it to look like an obvious addition. Everly said he wanted to keep the look of the addition consistent with the rest of the home, matching the wood features that already existed throughout most of the house.
A large part of the addition was made possible through a foundation called “Go Shout Love”. The nonprofit chooses a different child with a rare disease each month and rallies for them. Sofia was chosen last February, and the money raised was used to pay for the addition.
Sofia’s parents say their faith in humanity is restored.
“The world is portrayed as just this terrible, evil place and to say that we don’t fall into that mindset every now and then would be a lie,” said Sofia’s father, Rodney Kale. “But this has definitely been an eye-opening experience.”
Sofia’s family wanted to thank the following organizations and businesses who participated in helping Sofia’s Project:
- Go Shout Love Foundation
- Knights of Columbus
- Ray Boom Boom Mancini Foundation
- Hacker Classic
- United Steelworkers
- Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club
- Once a Cowboy Always a Cowboy
- M3 Masonry
- M&M Masonry
- ABC Supply Co (Cortland branch)
- Pally Roofing
- Mickey Buck and Jimmy Dudlee for drywall materials
- Electrical Union IBEW 64
- Habitat For Humanity Struthers ReStore
- Tim Barnhart Drywall LLC