Willow Spring family rocked by cancer gets home makeover
Posted August 12, 2012
Updated August 13, 2012
Willow Springs, N.C. — 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 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."