Community comes together to renovate chronically ill girl's home

BRADEN FASTIER / Stuff.co.nz

The Perrone family arrive back at their renovated house after a monumental effort by the community to help, and improve their life and that of Bernadette who suffers from Ivemark Syndrome.

A Nelson family with a chronically ill teen is in disbelief over the community's generosity after tradies and volunteers joined forces to revamp their family home.

It has taken 10 days, more than 80 workers and close to $55,000 worth of materials to revamp the Perrone family's Nelson home - but the renovation has also fixed the family's spirit.

Tears of joy and disbelief rolled down the cheeks of mother Elizabeth Perrone and her family of when they walked through their newly-renovated house for the first time on Tuesday night.

The family of eight has spent the past 23 years living in the run-down property looking after their chronically ill daughter.

READ MORE: Tradies join forces to help renovate sick girl's bathroom

Bernadette was born with Ivemark syndrome, a condition that affects her organs, bones and arteries.

Thirteen years ago Elizabeth was told her unborn daughter would not survive.

As she and her husband, Francis, carried their newborn through the front door of their Motueka St home, they thought they had brought Bernadette home to die.

But "she is courageous and she's gutsy".

Bernadette and her mother Elizabeth Perrone are grateful for the community support to upgrade their house.
MARION VAN DIJK

Bernadette and her mother Elizabeth Perrone are grateful for the community support to upgrade their house.

The Perrone's damp, dark family house has played havoc with Bernadette's health and Elizabeth felt at fault: "I was letting my family down," she said.

The home's sagging roof and mouldy walls were swallowing Elizabeth. Everything was worn out and breaking.

It didn't matter how hard she and Francis worked. They could never scrape together enough cash to fix anything.

The Perrone family arrive back at their renovated house after a monumental effort by the community to help and improve ...
BRADEN FASTIER

The Perrone family arrive back at their renovated house after a monumental effort by the community to help and improve their life and that of Bernadette, who suffers from Ivemark Syndrome.

After decades living in the damp, pokey house an overwhelming feeling of guilt and helplessness pushed Elizabeth to ask for help, "because Bernadette needed it".

Elizabeth went to see Helen McDonnell at CCS Disability Action in Nelson. Her story motivated McDonnell to write a letter to Mitre 10 Mega marketing co-ordinator Murray Leaning.

What was returned to Elizabeth and her family was nothing she could have ever imagined, she said.

Mitre 10 Mega staff have a Helping Hands day work in the garden, from left Alfred Christoffersen, Meg Brown, Lyndsay ...
MARION VAN DIJK

Mitre 10 Mega staff have a Helping Hands day work in the garden, from left Alfred Christoffersen, Meg Brown, Lyndsay Dixon and CEO Brandon Beverage at the Perrone family home during the renovation.

"We thought we were going to get help with, maybe, a shower ... but as it turns out it sort of just grew."

Ad Feedback

Leaning helped lead what he called a Facebook bathroom renovation. He said what started as a simple revamp spread to the Perrone's entire house and garden.

"I never thought people would do that for us," Elizabeth said. "I would like to say thank you very much for all your generosity and your kindness and your hard work."

The Perrone family from left Chris, Francesca, Francis, Elizabeth, and Matthew.
BRADEN FASTIER

The Perrone family from left Chris, Francesca, Francis, Elizabeth, and Matthew.

Although Bernadette was not able to make it to the home reveal, she had been kept up to date with everything.

"It made a huge difference to her," Elizabeth said. 

Bernadette's last surgery had left her feeling downtrodden. However the news of Nelson community's generosity to her family had raised her spirits.

"She's thinking about what she would like to do when she grows up and that's something she hasn't talked about for a long time."

As Elizabeth, Francis, Francesca, 20, and 18-year-old twins Chris and Matthew turned the key to their front door, waves of emotion rolled over them.

"Oh my gosh, it looks like a whole new house. It's so beautiful," Matthew said.

Francesca, who shared a room with Bernadette, burst into tears when she saw her bright, clean surroundings.

The Perrone family in one of their home's newly-renovated bedrooms.
BRADEN FASTIER

The Perrone family in one of their home's newly-renovated bedrooms.

"I'm lost for words really. I'm going to cry every time I go in there," she said.

"I can't wait to see her [Bernadette's] face. I can't wait to have her back here. We've never been separated for this long before."

Workers and volunteers who helped make the Perrone's renovation a reality celebrated with Elizabeth's family in their freshly spruced-up back yard.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Armed robbery at Eden Park

Armed robbers made off with money from a cash-in-transit van at Eden Park early Sunday morning.

Staff threatened, cash-in-transit van robbed after ABs vs Lions match in Auckland.

Chef to MPI: 'Burger off'

Duke of Marlborough restaurant manager Kelsey Benefield tucks into a Governor's Burger - before it's cut from the menu.

New red tape will kill signature hamburger at NZ's oldest licensed restaurant, says chef.

Dad died in hand-me-downs

On Tuesday, Carolyn Diane Alleyne will be sentenced in the Manukau District Court after pleading guilty to six ...

War veteran died on Father's Day with nothing but the clothes on his back, having been fleeced by his daughter.

At home with a Maori healer

Gabrielle Sexton-McDevitt lives in Koutu in the Hokianga.

Gabrielle Sexton-McDevitt works as a nurse and Maori healer. She lives with with her husband John, three dogs, a cat, a mini horse and 22 chooks.

Wellington

Sudoku seven take on world video

From left, Finbarr Noble, Jordan Hamel, Simon O'Donnell and Matt Russell from Aotearoa Puzzles Inc.

Kiwis never thought a passion for problem-solving and pub quizzes would take them to the world puzzle champs.

'The Bus' unleashed

Julian Savea will play for the Hurricanes against the British and Irish Lions.

Spare a thought for the midweek Lions, who will face a Julian Savea motivated to prove he's not a spent force.

Stranded Kiwi yachties rescued

Peter McLean (left) aboard Jungle, the yacht that struck a reef in the Pacific Ocean.

The four men are bound for Suva on a Fijian navy boat, but their yacht is beyond repair.

Keeping the red army well

Wellington Hospital ED specialist Dr Paul Quigley says extra staff will be on the floor on the night of both the Lions ...

Medical services are bracing themselves for a busy week as Lions fans flood in.

Canterbury

Fire guts abandoned hospital

Five fire crews battled a blaze at the abandoned Ngawhatu Psychiatric Hospital.

Former psychiatric hospital goes up in flames for second time in seven months.

Priceless bonsai theft

Three priceless bonsai maple trees were stolen from Jay van Lent's garden on Tuesday night.

The trees, grown by a late bonsai master, were stolen in a brazen backyard burglary.

'Guaranteed' grad jobs

Southern region manager Scott Miller says CPP's graduate job offer provides students the end-game support other tertiary ...

IT school offers job in industry within three months of graduation; or your money back.

Chch police chase car on its rims

Police arrested a 19-year-old man after an early-morning car chase.

Residents woke early Sunday to police chase through Sydenham and Papanui.

Waikato

Wife phones in husband as driver

The car ended up in a stream on Chepmell Rd,near Morrinsville, on Saturday night.

The car was found upside down in a creek, then the police got a call from Matamata.

Girl injured in crash

The girl was transported by ambulance to Waikato Hospital.

A 13-year-old girl was taken to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition after a crash in Chartwell.

Drink drive excuses don't wash

Drivers blowing over the limit tried every excuse in the book to weasel their way out of a trip to the station.

Bribery, sweet treats, racism and guilt trips were dished out to Waikato police during a Saturday night drink-driving blitz. 

Rest home cuts loom

Rest home operators say cuts to services or staff numbers is inevitable in the wake of a landmark deal to increase wages ...

Waikato rest homes could cut staff in the wake of increased wages for aged care workers.

Taranaki

New dawn welcomed

24062017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ.   Sir Maui Pomare day held at Owae Marae in Waitara.  L to R Nikai ...

Speakers from across the political spectrum found common ground at Sir Maui Pomare Day celebrations.

Top shops revealed

The best places to go shopping in Taranaki have been unveiled.

These are the best spots to get some good old retail therapy in Taranaki.

Community has role to play

Victoria University lecturer Chris Bowden said everyone had a part to play to combat the high rate of suicides among men.

Instead of telling them to toughen up, Chris Bowden reckons society should be supporting men.

Defending champs take top spot

24062017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ.   Taranaki premier grade club rugby, Tukapa V Clifton at Sanders Park in ...

No semifinals for Old Boys or Inglewood.

Manawatu

Borrows: left, right, out

Chester Borrows will soon be vacating his office. Twelve years in Parliament is enough, the Whanganui MP says.

A Left-leaning member of the National Party is preparing to say goodbye to politics.

Palmer slams Horizons

Sir Geoffrey Palmer, architect of the Resource Management Act

Court loss over farm runoff an example of local government failure, says former PM.

Fun in town and untruths in court

A Palmerston North postcard of 1901.

MEMORY LANE: Two days of news, in the Palmerston North of 1900.

Drug-resistant dogs

Antibiotics are not just helpful for humans. Dogs can benefit, too.

PAWS AND CLAWS: Antibiotics are useful, but dogs can be resistant to them.

Nelson

Conversations in virtual reality

22062017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER /FAIRFAX NZ

Scott Cardwell of ImmerseMe with Nelson College for Girls year 10 ...

What if you could practice foreign languages in school while talking to real people, in real situations?

Fire guts Ngawhatu

Five fire crews battled a blaze at the abandoned Ngawhatu Psychiatric Hospital.

Former psychiatric hospital goes up in flames for second time in seven months.

Who killed Kevin O'Loughlin?

Kevin O'Loughlin, 30, who was stabbed to death on the corner of a Nelson carpark on May 2, 1993. His murder has not been ...

Who was the man behind one of Nelson's only unsolved murders?

No winging it with public speaking

Cellphones - every speaker's worst enemy.

Public speaking continues to be a bit of a challenge for middle-aged man Stu Hunt

Marlborough

Fisheries patrol vessel blessed for success

MPI chief compliance officer Anthony Little, left, with Archdeacon Andy Joseph while he blesses the new MPI fisheries ...

Longer, faster and harder to evade - The new fisheries patrol vessel in the top of the south is blessed and ready for action.

Weekend sport

Harlequins number eight Jono Nicoliason offloads during his side's division one match with East Coast at Lansdowne Park.

Moutere and Renwick moved clear of the pack with wins on Saturday.

New surgeon remodels service

Vascular surgeon Carmen Ruiz.

Nelson's new vascular surgeon is providing better care for those needing treatment for blocked arteries and aneurysms.

Blenheim's bug motel

Faalelei Sioveata, 7, Angel Quinton, 9, and PhilipJunior Fodow, 7, have created a bug-friendly motel.

There's a new motel in town, and it's full of creepy crawlies.

South Canterbury

Schools press ahead with zones

Gleniti School principal Steve Zonnevylle

Gleniti and Highfield schools look to school zones in attempt to tackle roll growth.

Seniors sick of tiles

Timaru's Senior Citizen's Association has urged the council to address the issue of slippery tiles in the CBD.

Timaru's senior citizens are sick of the town's slippery tiles and want action.

RSA restructure looms

South Canterbury Returned and Services' Association president Greg O'Brien.

Restructure looms as South Canterbury RSA tries to improve its financial situation.

Restaurant eyes authentic flavour

Chengs Restaurant owners Sunny Wen and Angel Lin say they want to change people's perceptions of Oriental food with ...

Long-running restaurant set for dramatic change of direction as competition increases.

Southland

Strip and dip at Winter Fest video

A bright orange birdman leaps from the wharf on Queenstown's lakefront.

Scene of unseasonal jollity unfolds on Queenstown's lakefront as near-nude men and women fall over one another and rafts lose crew.

He Tauaa make it five

Jaavan Fa'amoe-Ioane was part of He Tauaa's 2017 grand final victory over Cowboys.

He Tauaa has won their fifth Southland club rugby league title in a row.

3 generations, 1 rugby team video

Grandfather Mackie Thompson, his son Colin, and grandson Cullen.

Grandad plays in the loose forwards, his son's at halfback and grandson is in the outside backs.

Young performers face the music

Monique Clementson (Deloris), Annie Sherborne, and Rachael Scott (Sister Mary Patrick) at rehearsals for the ...

Young performers are gaining exposure and touring the country for Sister Act the musical.

Ad Feedback