“We hear so many stories of returning veterans, people who are sick, families going through heartbreak, firefighters, social workers, police officers, volunteers – people who do so much and are going through so much who aren’t able to find comfort and relaxation in their own home. Sometimes it’s a stoop that’s not wheelchair accessible, property damaged by a hurricane, or a backyard that young kids can’t play in. Whatever the situation, we want to turn these spaces into a place of refuge. We want to put the ‘Welcome’ back in ‘Welcome Home’ for these people,” says co-owner Lisbeth Bono.
Started in 2014, Welcome Home is the first project of its kind here on Long Island. Deserving individuals from the area are nominated by friends, neighbors, and families to receive a free, beautiful, personalized outdoor space that better fits their needs and situation.
And over the past five years we’ve been able to help incredibly inspiring members of the Long Island community:
In 2014, we gave a retired, injured veteran and his family a backyard to relax and recover in.
In 2015, we helped a family who’d been displaced from over a year by Hurricane Sandy by building them a backyard with a fire pit – to finally spend time around and together, at home.
In 2016, we worked with a beloved Suffolk County youth football coach suffering from muscular dystrophy. We created a backyard space and outdoor kitchen that’s both handicap accessible and easy for him to host his football family.
In 2017, we turned a young mother-of-two’s front entrance into a beautiful and welcoming space as she continues to face extensive and unexpected health issues with TSS.
Of course, we couldn’t do any of this without the support of our sponsors. It’s only because of their donations of time, supplies, and services that we’re able to create such beautiful spaces for such deserving families.
Ashley Ventimiglia of Lake Grove is a young mother struggling with her health on a daily basis. All she wants is to be healthy enough to take care of her two young children. Ashley has been struggling with her health since August 2013 when she was hospitalized and diagnosed with TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). From August 2013 through October 2013 she was in ICU.
The TSS caused sepsis of Ashely’s organs. She was intubated and put in a medically induced coma. While in this coma Ashley’s body was turning a dark purple, almost black. The pressers in her body were trying to keep the vital organs alive while killing off what was “not important.” Several toes on both feet had to be amputated and a portion of her forearm was severely damaged. She had to deal with this realization upon waking from her coma still fighting for her life. Once stabilized she was transferred to a rehab facility from Oct – Dec 2013 to “learn” how to walk again. The doctors were able to save her big toes and that is what helps her keep her balance and still walk.
After all this her fight was not over. She has so much damage to her organs from the TSS she has since been hospitalized multiple times for surgeries or complications from the surgeries. Sometimes months at a time. In August of 2014 she had to have a Vagotomy (a surgery where they collapse your lungs and cut the vagus nerve right next to your esophagus and heart) in order to lower the production of acid in the stomach. She now has a central line in her arm for medications and fluids, a feeding tube and a 24 hour glucose monitor for diabetes.
Ashley has lost so much time with her two small children (now 4 and 7), all she wants is to be able to spend as much time as she can with her little ones. And be able to do some of the simple everyday things we all do. The healing,
welcoming space to them will hopefully be just that….a space where Ashley can heal and make up the time she has missed enjoying her children.
Ashley is scheduled to have another follow up surgery on her feet in the next few months. When she was asked what has kept her going through all she has been through, she answered “My kids…I have two babies and I will fight for them”.
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