"Doing if For Dexter" renovation rescue work to begin August 1

Dexter Heffernan and his supporters. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Dexter Heffernan and his supporters. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

RALLYING for a cause is one of Kiama’s specialties and the family of disabled Kiama Downs youngster Dexter Heffernan is all set feel that community spirit once again.

Plans are underway for people from all areas of the building industry to renovate the Heffernan home to make it more ‘Dexter friendly’. 

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.

Dexter's aunty Carol Laverty and friend and Doing it For Dexter  co-ordinator Melissa Tierney. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Dexter's aunty Carol Laverty and friend and Doing it For Dexter co-ordinator Melissa Tierney. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

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

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

The work planned for 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 get rid of the steps to make the entire home accessible to Dexter.

Last year, realising the scope of work needed, 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.   

A meeting at the Kiama Bowling Club on Tuesday night of  ‘‘Doing it for Dexter’’ supporters and ‘‘Tradie Mates’’ proved an outstanding success.

“Everyone is rallying to totally renovate the home more disability friendly – at the moment there are large areas of the home that Dexter can’t access in his chair – the doorway to the kitchen isn’t wide enough for his to fit through – in fact he is pretty much restricted to a fairly small part of the house,” Dexter’s aunty Carol Laverty said.

“The renovation will help make Dexter much more part of the family, with ramps to replace stairs, sliding doors and push-out doors and more draws instead of cupboards.

“We are just blown away that so many tradies and businesses have put their hands up to help out”

One of the men driving the project, Coastal Windows and Doors’ Rob Starcic, said he first met Dexter through his involvement with the Convoy for Kids in 2014.

“Kids in need really touch my heart and I met Dexter in 2014 and just loved the little guy,” Mr Starcic said.”

“To see so many businesses coming together for a great cause is fantastic.”

The project will start on August 1 and will take four to five weeks to complete.

“But above all we will be in it to do a great job for Dexter and his family and have as much fun as we can.” Mr Starcic said.

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