Home is where the heart is but for many people living with physical disabilities, there are barriers in the home that create everyday challenges and limit independence. When HomeStars heard about the Banaag family and the challenges in their home, we knew we wanted to help in some way. Working alongside March of Dimes Canada, HomeStars had the incredible opportunity to help the Banaag family make their home more accessible for their beloved son, Elliott. Read on to learn more about this amazing family’s story and the modifications they had done to their home.
Elliott Banaag was a gifted student who graduated in 2013 from Georges Vanier Secondary School in Toronto, completing it in only three years instead of the usual four years. He was the Valedictorian of his graduating class, taught piano to children and held many volunteer positions both in school and out.
In the fall of 2013, soon after he had started post-secondary studies at Humber College, he attended a Halloween party at his church. Donuts were being served, but he did not know they contained peanuts, to which he had a life-threatening allergy. After his first bite he suffered anaphylactic shock, his airways constricted and he stopped breathing for several minutes. He was rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital but was unable to breathe for over 20 minutes.
He lay in a coma at Sunnybrook for several months, where his family and doctors watched over him, hoping he would somehow regain consciousness. Finally, after seven months, there was a loud noise in his room and like a miracle, his eyes blinked open! He remained in the hospital for four more months, with his condition improving very slowly. His family bravely decided to take him back to their home in Scarborough, 11 months after the accident.
Throughout the past six years, Elliott’s mother Nidy has been providing unconditional love, care and support for Elliott in the home they’ve lived in for the past 20 years. The daily challenges of caring for Elliott include maintaining a tube in the front of his neck for breathing and feeding him a liquid diet through a PEG tube inserted into his stomach. Nidy, along with her husband and their two daughters work together to provide round-the-clock care for him.
Currently, Elliott can only leave the house in an ambulance, which happens occasionally to treat his episodes of severe asthma. To enable his family to help him leave the house, they applied to March of Dimes Canada for a vertical lift to carry him in his wheelchair down five feet to street level and back up again into their home.
March of Dimes Canada and The HomeStars Foundation have come together to ensure the payment of the installation costs of the vertical lift needed for Elliott and his wheelchair. Additional modifications such as the relocation of a door and building of a new porch are also covered to ensure ease of accessibility for Elliott and his family that takes care of him. With the renovations now complete, Elliott and his family can more easily enter and leave their home, making it more accessible for all.
HomeStars would like to thank March of Dimes Canada for the opportunity to provide funding for the renovation services to the much deserving Banaag family. As well, a big thank you goes to the Banaag family for sharing Elliott’s story with all of us.