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Local Family Win Home Makeover For Son Struggling With Rare Disease

Karson Parker, son of Walton County Fire & Emergency Services chaplain, Kris Parker, suffers from mitochondrial disease.

The Parker family, Kris and his wife Brandi, from Loganville, Ga. recently won a prize that has some life changing implications for their family, in a positive way.

During a charity event for Tripp Halstead, the Winder toddler recovering from a serious head injury, the Parkers won a make-over of their home to help with their young son struggling with mitochondrial disease. The prize was donated to Tripp Halstead's fundraiser by Sunshine on a Ranney Day.

That the family was at a fundraiser for someone else was not surprising. A Walton County firefighter and chaplain of the department, Parker recently chronicled his family's first unsuccessful attempts to adopt two orphaned Latvian siblings and then successful adoption of a teenager from that country. This is on top of the four children they already have, including Karson, "Mito Man" as they call him, who won the prize. The outreach to others by this family is well chronicled. That they were on the receiving end of some good news seemed only fitting.

However, as is often the case, the win comes with some additional financial implications for the family. This leaves them needing some assistance from the community in order for them to take full advantage of the prize.

Here's the situation, as explained by Parker in his blog.

We have been wanting to do something special for Karson for a while now, but couldn’t because of the costs associated with such a project. We wanted to close in our garage and provide him with a larger room for him- both for therapy reasons, and for him to have a safe place to “be”. One of the greatest challenges that we keep running into is making our home “Karson proof”, which is essentially baby proofing on steroids. With the way his mitochondrial disease has affected him he is truly a danger to himself at times. He has no concept of the danger of sharp objects, not to mention the hazards of a kitchen. All of our drawers have locks, the furniture has to be pushed against the wall to keep him from climbing over the back, there are baby gates all over the place keeping him out of certain rooms…the list could go on and on forever. Because while he is severely delayed mentally from where he should be, he is the size of a typical five year old…which means he can (and often does) reach the kitchen counters, Kaden’s school desk, and anything else that’s low. His latest “trick” is that he’s learned to open doors, which meant slide locks on all the closets, and more baby gates to keep him safe!

That’s just an idea of what it is like try and keep him safe, and the struggles that it often entails. Thus our desire to close in our garage to make a space that is truly “Karson friendly”. It was an incredible blessing to win the auction that Sunshine for a Ranney Day was doing for Tripp Halstead’s family. We were able to help out his family, and receive an incredible blessing in a room makeover for Karson! I honestly didn’t think it would ever be something that we could do for him- so I (we) are beyond excited that it is happening!

However, that is where the difficulty comes in. Under Walton County code, the home requires a two-car garage. Modifying the garage for Karson will leave the Parker's home without one. That will require them constructing another one.

So if anyone has the skills, donations of building materials or financial contributions to make this happen, it will enable the Parker family to take advantage of the prize from Sunshine on a Ranney Day for their "Mito Man." 

Further reading on the Parker family. Kris Parker is also a Patch blogger.

  • Life Lessons from Mito
  • Living with a Child with Mito
  • Serving those who serve
  • And We're Off: A New Adventure
  • Lessons Learned from my Latvians
  • Who Knew it Would be so Hard
Kathlene M. January 27, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Can't the county be petitioned to grant a variance?

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