The McDonald family sees their newly renovated home for the first time Saturday in Taylorsville. (Alex Cabrero, KSL-TV)
Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
TAYLORSVILLE — After a month away, a Taylorsville family came home Saturday to a big surprise.
Neighbors say the family needed a home makeover after the father suffered a stroke to make getting around his home a little easier.
The family had no idea what was done to their home, until they got there.
It’s often the little things that make a home a home — things like your own bed, furniture and silverware. Lately, the McDonald family has been missing those little touches of home. They’ve been staying in a temporary home because of all the big things they have had to deal with lately.
“Yeah, it’s been really bad,” said Janelle McDonald.
Her husband, Brian, had a stroke, which left him with some paralysis on his right side.
“My mind is getting better all the time, but I miss the mountains and I miss driving,” said Brian McDonald.
Janelle McDonald was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and one of their three sons had cancer when he was 5 years old.
“One of the doctors said, ‘What, do you guys live on uranium?'” she said with a laugh.
It’s a good thing she can still laugh and make jokes. Otherwise, she would probably cry.
“What else can you do? You just go,” she said.
They have been living with their three children in a small basement apartment in Riverton. Janelle McDonald says that brings its own challenges as well.
“We feel like we’re always right on top of each other and we don’t have any space. It has been a thing, yeah,” she said.
It’s not their home, though.
They’re only in this small basement apartment because their main home in Taylorsville was getting a big makeover. A family friend nominated the McDonald’s for a Little Miracles charity project.
The Little Miracles Foundation is a nonprofit group that specializes in service projects with a goal of helping those who are in need. The group teamed up with Homespire and Bach Homes to completely renovate the McDonalds’ home to make it easier for them to get around in.
It took about a month, but volunteer contractors, electricians, and carpenters renovated the house to better suit Brian McDonalds disability.
The house was finally completed Saturday.
The McDonalds were leaving their temporary Riverton home for good.
“I’m excited to see what’s different,” Janelle McDonald said. “I’m also ready to finally go home. I miss it.”
With a Taylorsville police escort and a limousine, the McDonalds arrived at their home. They had no idea how many people were waiting with basically a big block party to welcome them back.
“Welcome home!” said one woman who gave them a hug.
There was a big banner on the house, a DJ playing music, cheerleaders, balloons, and speeches to show the McDonalds how much they are loved.
“If you could’ve seen the house before, you would know it wasn’t in very good shape,” Janelle McDonald said.
Once inside, there was a new house smell. Everything was freshly painted and decorated. Every room felt similar but was different to the family.
“Oh wow,” Brian McDonald said.
There was also a shed, basketball court, trampoline, and gas fire pit in the backyard, as well as brand new grass.
Not even the best plumber who helped put in a new bathroom could stop Janelle McDonald’s tears.
“I can’t believe this,” she said while wiping her eyes. “How do we even deserve this?”
It was their home, but a brand-new home. One where their laughter could continue for years.
“We are going to be much more comfortable here,” she said. “There’s no way for me to find out every single person’s name. Because I would. Anything I could do. This is amazing.”
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