View Full Version : Oklahoma heart-transplant family chosen for home makeover

02-02-2010, 02:07 AM
Oklahoma heart-transplant family chosen for home makeover

FROM STAFF REPORTS The Oklahoman Comments Comment on this article1
Published: February 2, 2010

LEXINGTON — The family of a little boy with a new heart will get a new home — built in a week — courtesy of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and Ideal Homes of Norman.

Brian Skaggs, right, holds son Jhett, 3, with his wife, Audra and their daughter Merit, 5, outside their home, which will be torn down, at Lexington. Photo provided

After weeks of planning and secrecy, Ty Pennington and the popular TV show’s design team surprised the Skaggs family Monday morning in Lexington with a knock on their door.

Brian Skaggs, a cattle raiser, and his wife, Audra, a preschool teacher, have two young children, Merit, 5, and Jhett, 3.

Jhett survived a rare and risky heart transplant as an infant. He has made great progress the past two years, but the poor condition of the family’s home poses serious risks to his weakened immune system.

Plans to build a new home had to be put on hold when Jhett was about 8 months old and his health started deteriorating.

"He had a couple of episodes where he stopped breathing and his dad and I had to give him CPR,” Audra Skaggs said. "The second time he had to be (airlifted) to Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City. The doctors there told us that what we had been told was food allergies was really heart failure. And two months later he had a heart transplant.”

Today Jhett is happy and healthy, but with transplants usually lasting just 12 to 15 years, he will require lifelong medical care.

"He’s healthy and active most of the time, but when he gets sick it takes him longer to get over it, like the eight days he spent in the hospital with a stomach virus this fall,” his mom said.

The Ideal Homes team will build the Skaggs family a new home this week.

"We want to give them a great home where they can live in healthy conditions, "said Todd Booze, president of construction for Ideal Homes. "Our team has been planning for several weeks to make that happen. Of course, this house has to have a superior air quality system, and as the builders of the first Health House, we’re uniquely qualified to build a healthy home for the Skaggs family.”

Booze said he expects to meet the 106-hour deadline.

"The weather has added a number of challenges, but we are confident we can make it happen.”

02-02-2010, 03:52 PM
This is a pretty neat story! I graduated from Lexington High School and have spent a lot of time there, so I'm glad to see something good happening in that town.