Volunteers build new bedroom for ill Knightdale boy
Posted March 25, 2011 6:24 p.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2011 6:55 p.m. EDT
Knightdale, N.C. — Volunteers have come together in Knightdale to build a new bedroom for a 5-year-old boy who requires constant medical care.
Forrest Bouchelle was born three months premature.
“He weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces and was 12 inches long. They didn’t expect him to make it,” his mother, Kathy Bouchelle, said Friday.
Forrest has a rare form of pediatric glaucoma and is legally blind. His mother said he can see about a foot in front of him and often falls down. He had 10 surgeries last year including a tracheotomy.
Forrest’s condition requires oxygen and a nurse’s assistant at night. His current bedroom is packed with medical supplies.
“It’s very hard day-to-day for him,” Kathy Bouchelle said.
Forrest’s father, Jeff Bouchelle, is a Knightdale firefighter.
Knowing the Bouchelle’s significant medical expenses and their need for home renovations, Jeff Bouchelle’s coworkers joined contractor Mike Miller to build an addition to their home for free.
“Jeff, he’s a member of our fire department and he’s just like a brother and we’re always there for each other,” Knightdale firefighter Goley Boggs said.
Miller helped another family 10 years ago by building a new home for a couple whose house was damaged by fire.
“I enjoy it. (I) wish I could do it as a job everyday,” Miller said of his involvement with helping the families.
Forrest said he would like his bedroom to be painted blue just like the popular children's show "Blue's Clues."
Volunteers estimate the home addition would have cost the Bouchelles, who also have a 13-year-old daughter, more than $60,000.
“It’s quite the biggest blessing, I think, we’ve ever had besides Forrest making it,” Kathy Bouchelle said.
Construction began on March 14. Volunteers are asking for assistance with labor, donations and building materials.
The Knightdale Public Safety department has set up a trust fund at First Citizens Bank in Knightdale for donations for the project. Checks should be made payable to the “Knightdale Public Safety Explorers Jeff Bouchelle Relief Fund.”