There's nothing we love more than a heartwarming story of neighbors helping neighbors, and this one is bound to bring you to tears. A mother taking care of her 18-year-old disabled son is getting an unexpected gift that will improve his life tenfold. Their El Cajon, Calif., home's configuration makes it tough for the wheelchair-bound teen to get around -- so a group of volunteers is giving them a home makeover so he can be more independent, San Diego TV station KGTV reported.
Tyler Leone has spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that causes muscle damage and weakness. The disease gets progressively worse over time and leads to death. Tyler's mother, Gina Barnett -- a single mom with two other children -- told KGTV that Tyler's muscular strength is that of a 6-month-old. Their bathroom door isn't wide enough for Tyler to get his wheelchair through, so every time he wants to go to the bathroom or take a shower, his mother has to carry him in and out.
"I was able to do all this stuff for him, you know," Barnett told KGTV. "It was no problem for me. But it just seems like the last year, it just -- he's so heavy now, so I can't." So volunteer group East County Posse came up with a solution for the family: They're building a new room and bathroom for Tyler that fits his needs and allows him to function with less dependence on his mom.
The group of volunteer plumbers and builders has been working on the project for the past couple of weeks, building wider openings to the new room and bathroom as well as a wheelchair ramp. "We just want to be there for people," said volunteer Shawn Bush. "And we want to be able to help their life be the best it can be."
Tyler told KGTV that he appreciates most "just being able to go to the bathroom and not having to rely on everyone as much. ... It's just great because my mom couldn't get me in the other bathroom anymore."
"I don't know what we would have done without them," Barnett said. The East County Posse has been volunteering for projects for the last decade, KGTV said. This story reminds us of a tearjerker that we reported a couple months ago. A couple in the New York City borough of Queens who lost their home in Hurricane Sandy was shocked to find that a humanitarian group completely rebuilt it.
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