Items still on wishlist for Dexter Heffernan's home renovation

KIAMA youngster Dexter Heffernan celebrated his fourth birthday last week, with one of his best birthday presents being a spell of continuing good health.

Dexter was born premature and suffered Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL), a form of brain damage, and as a result now lives with cerebral palsy and impaired vision.

At 13 months Dexter was also diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy and surgery after lesions were discovered in his liver and lungs.

Last week his mum Lenice said her eldest son was doing the best he had in a long time.

‘‘We have not had an emergency hospital episode since August last year,’’ Mrs Heffernan said. ‘‘He is doing really, really well.’’ 

While Dexter’s health is stable, his conditions have left him with reduced mobility. He is on the waiting list for his first wheelchair, which Mrs Heffernan said would make a big difference.

‘‘Getting the wheelchair is going to mean he is age appropriate,’’ she said. ‘‘At the moment he’s still in his pram. he goes to the park and kids older than him say ‘look at the baby’.’’ 

The work to the family's Kiama Downs home includes a bathroom and kitchen renovation, having bigger light switches installed and having doors widened and replaced.

Mrs Heffernan said ultimately they would like to raise the lower part of the house and do away with the steps to make the entire home accessible to Dexter.

Last year realising the scope of work needed to make the home ‘‘Dexter-friendly’’ (including accommodating a wheelchair), Mrs Heffernan’s sister, Carol Laverty and supporter Melissa Tierney launched the Doing it for Dexter Facebook page.

By taking the page public, the pair aimed to find tradespeople and businesses who might be willing to help out with ‘‘mates rates and love’’.

They were inundated with offers of assistance.   

Ms Laverty said the plans were drawn up by Katie Sadgrove. 

‘‘Lorenzo Nizza (Smith and Sons Renovations and Extensions Shellharbour) and Rob Starcic (Coastal Windows and Doors) took up our idea, and got things in motion,’’ she said.

It’s hoped renovations will begin in July.

Ms Laverty thanked everyone for their support to date and said there were still a few things on their wish list: roof trusses, gutters,  lighting, fittings, electrician and supplies, turf, fix out (internal doors, architraves, skirtings, cavity sliders (870mm doors), flooring, garage door, PC items: taps, toilets, oven, hotplate, air conditioning, insulation, blinds, awnings and fencing.

Mrs Heffernan said the support to date had been overwhelming.

‘‘The Kiama, and wider Illawarra community this time has really stepped up. We can’t thank everyone enough,’’ she said.

Visit kiamaindependent.com.au for a list of Dexter’s supporters.

If you can help, visit the Doing it for Dexter Facebook page 

Dexter's supporters to date

 Rob - Coastal Windows & Doors

 Smith & Sons Renovations & Extensions Shellharbour

 Katie

 Ward & Dunn Glass

 Gary Vian - Painter

 A Portelli Bathroom Renovations

 Jankovic Bricklaying

 Coastal Stairs

 Original Residence 

 Village Toys

 Dovern Bricklaying

 Bayside Security Doors & Blinds

 Black Diamond Removals

 Kieran Bates Plumbing 

 Wariapendi Nursery 

 Kiama Glass

 McMahons Transport

 Coco Chai Day Spa

 Steve Wilder Carpenter

 Minnamurra Lions Club

 Tom - Superior Floorsanding & Polishing

 Shark Plant Hire

 Dom's Quick Move & Clean

 South Coast Termite Barriers

 Krauss Kitchens

 A+ Quality Fence 

 Total Tools

 Dulux

 James Hardie

 Dunmore Resources & Recycling Pty Ltd

 Masters Home Improvement

 Marino Stone Aus

 WK Quantum Quartz(to be confirmed)

 Mick & Troy Herbert Pty Ltd - Plasterer

 TRS Protective Services security

 Shep's Roofing Service

 Gregory Scaffolding 

Food

Gainsborough Take Away & Chicken 

Scootacino coffee

The Coffee Guy

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