For the first time since the skull of Madison Arseneault was impaled by a golf club sawed during a gym class more than two years ago, the partially paralyzed teenager has a bedroom to which she can actually to access.
More than 70 businesses and individuals in Windsor, Ontario, rallied and donated their time, money and supplies to renovate his family's home and build an additional 800 square feet of accessible space.
"It breaks my heart," said Madison's mother, Shirley Arseneault, holding back her tears. "Basically, another house was built, and just to accommodate Madison so she can relive."
Madison Arseneault, in the center, and her mother, Shirley, left, and their father, Andrew, right, wish to be able to use their fully renovated and fully accessible home once it is complete by the end of February. (Jason Viau / CBC)
Since the 2016 accident, the family was struggling with financial problems and would not have been able to make the renovations itself.
The project – valued at more than $ 200,000 – did not cost the family anything with the help of the community.
Watch some of the emotional interview with Shirley and Madison Arseneault:
Madison's life has changed dramatically since this spring, May 25th.
The accident occurred during a gym class at the Ford Test Track, a municipal park adjacent to Madison Elementary School. The grade 8 student was running on the track, decided to cut on the grass and stumbled on a rope that the city teams were using as a guide to paint lines on the football field. This chain was held in place by sawed golf clubs sunk into the ground, one of which was coming off and puncturing Madison's skull.
Local philanthropist Jim Scott heard about what happened and called everyone he knew to help. Knowing that the path of healing was going to be difficult, they sought to make his family's home accessible. More than 70 people gathered and donated their time, money or supplies to renovate their home.
"She lives her life and she continues to want to be a normal student," said Jake Heydon, a footballer at Holy Names Catholic High School who played a role in the project.
The organizers had a hard time finding someone to handle the demolition side of the renovation. Heydon, his teammates and coaches have decided to do it.
"Especially someone who has had such a horrible experience, when we can make the feeling go away a bit and give them a smile, that's what we're really trying to emphasize." here, "said coach Dan Hogan.
The Holy Names Catholic High School football team took part in the demolition during the renovation of the Arseneault family home. (Arseneault family)
According to her doctors, Madison will probably have to live all her life in partial paralysis. And at the end of each day, the teenager says that she often finds herself in pain due to unexplained circulation problems.
For two and a half years, her bed is in the family living room as she could not climb the steep stairs up to the second floor. The family built a lift to allow them to go to the second floor.
"It's really exciting, I can not wait until it's over," she said.
Madison also loves to cook and cook. She has therefore contributed to the design of the new kitchen to ensure that she is functional for her needs. From a collapsible shelf in the top cabinets to a blender that simply comes out from under the counter, she will soon be ready to resume her small cake making business from home.
The house also now has an attached garage that leads to an elevator inside, so Madison no longer has to walk around the house in the rain or snow to access the backyard. And in his bathroom, most things are on the right side because of his visual impairment.
Take a look at the almost finished home of the Arseneaults and explain why these renovations are important:
Almost every day of the week, the teenager is undergoing treatment, from counseling to physiotherapy. Although she has made some progress, defying the doctors' forecasts and starting to walk again, she has recently taken a step back.
"I've had more and more headaches, they get worse and are just different, but nobody knows why," she said.
One day at school, her headache became so intense that she caused uncontrollable vomiting, a lot of pain and landed her in the hospital. Arseneault describes it as "one of the worst pains I have ever felt".
"When I think about how life was supposed to be and what I wanted for my daughter, that's what makes me understand," said Shirley Arseneault. "When I see her struggling or suffering, that's what makes me … But she's here – she was not supposed to be, but she is."
Once the renovations are completed, which should be a little later this month, the family hopes to regain a sense of normalcy.
"You can see the excitement on his face," said Shirley Arseneault. "It was as if eventually something was going to be his."