Welcome Home Angel renovates bedroom, bathroom for teen with medical issues
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Diego Reyes was born April 19, 2005, at Duke Children's Hospital.
"He has a very rare condition, a lot of medical needs," said Rocio Reyes, Diego's mother. "He only has one kidney, requires a catheter, and has trouble walking, and on top of all that, he is autistic."
You would never know Diego has a whole host of medical issues when you see his bright smile and hear his contagious laugh.
"He has changed our lives," Rocio said. "He is just like a typical kid to me, but he requires a lot of assistance."
Diego is now 13, and getting bigger. The family had a small bathroom where Rocio was unable to lift him and bathe him properly.
Additionally, the two of them were sleeping together in a small bed, where Diego was susceptible to falls.
"It's been very difficult to take care of him, hold him up in the shower, and I always have to be aware of him in the bed," she said.
That's where the team from Welcome Home Angel comes in.
Founded in 2007, the mission of Welcome Home Angel is to bring joy to children with significant health or life-altering conditions and relief to their families by creating happier and more functional living spaces.
"His mom has to sleep with him to take care of him during the night, so it was really important to get a bigger bed," said Angela Crittenden, lead designer for Teal Interior Design who helped design the new master suite and master bath for the Reyes. "All the materials are indoor-outdoor to help keep things cleaner for his mom in case he has any accidents.
"In the bathroom, we added a functional shower for his mother, and the colors in the bedroom, Diego wanted something bright, but mom stepped in and we decided on calmer colors to help him relax and sleep."
On Friday, WECT was at the Reyes' home for the big reveal that left Diego and mom grinning from ear to ear.
"I was very surprised. It's amazing," Rocio said. "It's a big change because at the beginning, it was a sad room and now Diego can enjoy more when he stays in his room. Just to see him so happy, it makes me so happy too."
Organizations also donated an outdoor playground for Diego as well as a splash pad to help when he gets overheated.
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