Extreme Makeover show visits Lexington family
By Mark Wineka
LEXINGTON ó Tricia Creasey has the look of a teenager not that much older than the middle school students she teaches.
Her youthful appearance outside hides, however, the battle going on inside. Three years ago, at age 34, Creasey was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Since then, she and her husband, William, have put dreams of fixing up their small Allred Road house on hold, while she has endured chemotherapy, radiation and three surgeries.
In May, Tricia’s cancer returned, spreading to her lymph nodes. To keep it from advancing even more, she has been receiving weekly chemotherapy treatments that cost the family $1,400 a month, after insurance.
The day after each treatment, Tricia often has returned to Brown Middle School, teaching science and social studies to seventh-graders.
Fifteen of her students were part of a crowd assembling in front of the Creaseys’ home in a cold downpour Wednesday afternoon after ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” chose the family of five as its newest project.
By next Tuesday, a volunteer army of 1,200 to 1,500 people ó mostly contracting crews from throughout the region who are donating their time and, often, materials ó will have built the Creaseys a completely new, two-story home.
Ty Pennington, the “Extreme Makeover” host, was on hand Wednesday to give the family his signature wake-up call, meaning they had been selected for the show’s 165th build since 2003.
The Creaseys have three daughters: 12-year-old Brittany and 5-year-old twins, Makenzie and Makayla.
Pennington and the design team of Ed Sanders, Paul DiMeo and Tracy Hutson traveled to the Creasey home in a school bus, then met at length with the family before the Creaseys departed by limousine to an all-expense-paid vacation at Disney World.
Volunteers packed up their belongings Wednesday night in advance of today’s demolition of the house, which sits on an expansive corner lot.
The day was filled with the arrivals of tractor-trailers and delivery trucks, bringing things such as bulldozers, light towers, temporary office trailers, portable toilets, food, tables and tents to or close to the site.
Early activity on the site Wednesday night included pumping out the septic tank, installing temporary electricity, staging Dumpsters, disconnecting water, removing some trees, making a second entrance into the site, removing a condenser and delivering the demolition equipment.
Demolition of the 1,180-square-foot home, which has a carport, was scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. today.
David Eller, a co-founder of Makson Plumbing and Construction Inc. of Salisbury, will serve as one of the construction managers on the site. He was joined Wednesday by three of his top men, Jeff Hopkins, Matt Moretz and Mark Lookabill.
The Makson representatives, including two wallboard teams of 10 men each, will be working on the project. The four Makson representatives Wednesday braved the cold and rain to participate in the “Braveheart” parade of builders who marched from Allred Road into the Creaseys’ front yard, where they rallied with the family, Pennington and designers ó all for the benefit of film crews.
Today, starting at 2 p.m. at Central Davidson High School, the American Cancer Society is host for a special Relay for Life in honor of Tricia Creasey, who is battling her stage three cancer.
The event will last 24 hours, and the Cancer Society is asking the community to form teams, create campsites, participate in a luminary ceremony and raise money for cancer research. The event is open to the public, and more information is available at 336-834-0844.
William and Tricia Creasey met briefly with the media outside their home Wednesday afternoon.
A high school friend of William nominated the family, which was one of five in the Triad being considered by the show.
“There are no words,” Tricia said to describe what the new home will mean to them. “… This has got to be the best community.”
The couple said they bought the house as a starter home with hopes to fix it up then resell it for a larger residence. “It just all got to be too much” after her cancer treatments started, Tricia said.
The small 1930s house has only one bathroom, which is off the master bedroom. Tricia said it is difficult for her to shut a door and rest while receiving her home chemotherapy treatments because of the home’s layout and absence of hallways.
The existing house had numerous problems: rotten boxing, a leaking roof, no insulation or storm windows, cracks in the brick foundation and holes in the floors, walls and roof where animals can get in.
During Tricia’s sickness, much of the responsibility for looking after their daughters has fallen to William, who thinks the new home will provide a much better environment for his wife’s recovery.
William, an IT employee of Davidson County Schools, said the couple have watched the show for years, never dreaming it would be needed to help them.
The couple said their family has been to Disney World before.
Jason Hedrick, owner of Hedrick Creative Building in Lexington, is the general contractor for the project.
He said it was a “humongous relief” to finally find out who the family was and to get started on their new house, which will be 3,100 square feet.
Hedrick said the response to solicitations for help were overwhelming to the point they had to be cut off.
But monetary donations to help the family and pay for materials are still needed, Hedrick said.
Contributions are being accepted through a Web site at www.hedrickextreme.com.
The makeover is supposed to take 106 hours. Crews work around the clock toward next Tuesday’s reveal. The immediate neighborhood around the Creasey home has been blocked off, and homeowners have special passes so they can move in and out.