Local News

Willow Spring family rocked by cancer gets home makeover

Posted August 12, 2012
Updated August 13, 2012

— A Wake County family who lost three loved ones to cancer in the past six years opened the door to a newly renovated and refurnished home on Sunday.

The Absolute Care Foundation joined local businesses and volunteers in making over the Willow Spring home of Gwen Griffis, her 10-year-old daughter, Carmen, and 11-year-old son, Nicholas.

They cleared the house and started from scratch – new walls, new ceilings and floors, fresh paint and new tiles. A bigger bathroom, donated furniture and art, and newly built closets. Almost 100 volunteers worked on the project, putting in about 2,600 man-hours.

"I am so grateful. I am so grateful and so thankful," an effusive Gwen Griffis said as she toured her upgraded home.

The family has struggled financially and emotionally after the cancer-related deaths of Gwen Griffis' husband, Steve, in 2006, mother in 2007 and 17-year-old son, Steven, in January, the foundation said in a news release.

"The Absolute Care Foundation adopted the Griffis family to help by renovating and furnishing their house, which had been neglected because of medical costs," said Conrad Rensburg.

Rensburg and Drew Van Aarde, who own a dental prosthetics lab in Durham, started the foundation this year after Rensburg survived his own battle with colo-rectal cancer. Willow Spring Willow Spring family rocked by cancer gets home makeover

Rensburg said facing death made him reconsider how he'd leave the world a better place. 

"We might not have another day to do good for someone else and leave a legacy," he said.  

They were introduced to the Griffises, who were living without running water because their pipes had rotted.

"Once we saw the condition she was living under, we said, 'This is the project for us," Rensburg said.

"The house is amazing," said Nicholas Griffis. "I've never seen it this beautiful before."


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  • Bradley07 Aug 13, 2012

    Oh how wonderful!!! in a trying times it's great to see some good come out of it. God Bless them all for doing what they did for the Griffises.

  • Skyyecatfromafar Aug 13, 2012

    In this 'crusty old world' we know better as daily living . .it's nice to read some good news. And even better to know there are people that really care. Good going!!

  • blackkawai Aug 13, 2012

    This is great. So happy for this family. May God bless this family and the ones who made all of this possible! Love to see news like this!

  • lisa4 Aug 13, 2012

    What a wonderful story!!!!! God bless the Griffis family and the Rensburg family!!!

  • Sweetgrl3 Aug 13, 2012

    Great story. This is what we like to see.

  • Bartmeister Aug 13, 2012

    Good job................. Today's feel good story.

  • schooldoctor Aug 13, 2012

    Praise God for these angels.