Nicki and Dana Himmelman fought back tears Monday evening as they caught the first glimpse of their newly renovated Lower Sackville home.
Surrounded by friends, family and dozens of Ramar employees who cheered as they walked up their driveway, the couple and their three children made their way inside for an emotional homecoming.
In late March the family won a $100,000 Ramar home renovation. Nicki and her eight-year-old daughter Brennah have a rare connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Among other things, it causes loose joints, frequent subluxations, dislocations, chronic pain and lack of mobility.
Brennah is recovering from her most recent IWK surgery, and Nicki will most likely be wheelchair bound within three years. Her husband Dana works offshore as a cook. Absent for three weeks at a time, he was concerned about his family’s well being in a house that wasn’t wheelchair accessible.
When Nicki submitted her story to Ramar’s Home Sweeter Home contest outlining how a main floor bathroom, laundry room, and wheelchair accessibility would change her life, she never dreamed she’d win.
In addition to constructing a main floor laundry room, bedroom with ensuite bathroom, and wheelchair accessibility inside and outside the home, Ramar gave Brennah her dream playhouse and provided a beautiful backyard deck, accompanying furniture, and fire pit.
“I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude. We are very humbled to have been given this once in a lifetime gift that will mean so much to our family,” Nicki said. “It means that my daughter and I can now navigate safely in our house, my husband doesn’t have to worry about us when he’s offshore, and I can function much better when taking care of my kids.”
Ramar employees were equally moved. Heavily involved in the project, many fought back tears as they watched the grateful couple shed theirs. Ramar Group’s CEO Ben Young said with the incredible support of their suppliers who readily jumped onboard, the project grew from a $100,000 renovation to a $180,000 renovation.
Young said between 100 and 150 people volunteered their time.
“The look on (the Himmelman’s) faces when they walked into that kitchen says it all. If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what would,” Young said.