Homespire and Little Miracles Create “Forever Home” for Family in Need


We ended a recent blog about the McDonald family with a teaser of exciting news to come. Homespire is delighted to share the next chapter of the story, but first, a quick recap: Brian McDonald (43) was referred to Homespire in March 2021 after he suffered a debilitating stroke, caused by Marfan Syndrome, in November 2019. Meggan Newbold, Nurse Care Manager, and Emily Barlow-Redd, Community Liaison, began working with the family—Brian, Janell (39), and their sons, ages 10, 12, and 16—to address their unmet medical, social, and financial needs.

Just as they were making progress, however, things took a turn for the worse. In May, Janell was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), resulting in a 17-day hospitalization. The following months were marked by additional health challenges, but in the fall, the family turned a corner. Janell got a job working from home as a customer service rep, Brian began taking a few steps with the support of a cane, and the boys adopted a dog named Hazel. But the story gets even better.

Park City Getaway

Emily had heard of Little Miracles, a local non-profit specializing in service projects aimed at easing the burden of families in need. On a whim, she decided to nominate the McDonalds for a mini home makeover—and they were unanimously selected.

To give the Little Miracles volunteers time to work on the house, Homespire and Little Miracles tapped their networks and their resources to send the family on a three-day Park City getaway. Between the donated lodging, restaurant gift cards, food baskets, tickets to Woodward Park City, and a kennel for Hazel, it was an incredible show of community support for a family that had lost hope.

Mini Makeover Goes Big

Originally slated as a weekend project, the mini home makeover grew rapidly in scale and scope when Little Miracles president, Tianni Shoemaker, met with an executive with Bach Homes, a Utah-based home construction company and Brian’s former employer. Bach Homes reached out to their industry partners and the response was overwhelming, with some 40 subcontractors and suppliers pledging their support.

In addition to donating their time, expertise, and hard labor, these small business owners and independent contractors contributed building materials, furniture, window blinds, housewares, appliances, trees, shrubs, sod, basketball stand, fire pit, garage, and more. Large retailers also stepped up, offering 40 percent discounts to the subcontractors and Little Miracles designers.

From House to “Forever Home”

The project kicked off on October 21 with dozens of volunteers from Homespire, Little Miracles, and Bach Homes emptying the house and moving the family to their temporary digs for the duration of the remodel. The Homespire team, led by Meggan, didn’t miss a beat, continuing to help the family move forward to their health and life goals.

In just four weeks, the McDonalds’ house was transformed into a “forever home,” complete with wheelchair accessibility, wider doorways, accessible bathroom, and an outdoor sport court for the boys, along with new paint, furnishings, and accessories to create a welcoming, spark-filled environment.

Welcome Home – watch the video for the reveal!

When the family arrived in a chauffeured car on November 20, they were greeted by dozens of neighbors and volunteers from Homespire, Littles Miracles, Bach Homes, and the community who’d come to support the family. Unbeknownst to the McDonalds, Littles Miracles had organized a huge Welcome Home party, complete with balloons, music, and cake, followed by the Big Reveal of the McDonald’s newly transformed home. Tears of joy, squeals of delight, and a whole lot of love.

The family knows they have a long road ahead of them, but thanks to the generous outpouring from the community, that journey no longer feels so difficult.

Homespire offers life-changing services and support to help you and your loved ones with whatever challenges you’re facing. To learn more, schedule a free consultation.