Family of young cancer patient gets free home for Christmas

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by TERESA WOODARD / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM

KELLER -- The sun went down Thursday evening and roofers climbed off the Keller home where they'd spent all day. They swept up and re-hung the Christmas lights they'd moved to do their work.

To some, it's just a new roof. But to the countless people who've spent hours working on that house, it's a new life.

"It's the most blessed Christmas we have ever had," said soon-to-be homeowner Kelly Venable.

The woman who currently owns the home is a successful businesswoman now living in Houston, but she lived in Keller for several years. It was her home when she was a struggling single mom. In October, she called an old friend, Christie Goode, who is now a Realtor.

"She said she had this home, and that it had helped her so much when she was going through that. She said she felt like she wanted to pay it forward and help somebody else," Goode said. "And so she said, 'I want you to help me find somebody to share my home with.'"

Goode began asking a few local charities, and Kelly Venable's name came up. Kelly is a single mom with three children: 12-year-old Matthew, 11-year-old Michael, and six-year-old Emily. Emily has fought cancer four of the six years she's been alive. The family has bounced from home to home, and they haven't had a real Christmas in years.

Those years are now over. The homeowner is giving Kelly and her family a home.

"There's no way to express it. No way," Kelly said.

In the last three weeks, volunteers from churches and businesses completely renovated the home.

"It really gets me, even today, to know that we did this in a short amount of time," said Burnie Vaughn of the Knights of Columbus.

"I couldn't not do it," he added. "It's our obligation to help."

Kelly and her children have now moved in, and Thursday some of the volunteers who helped with the renovations brought toys and food. And some local businesses who heard about the effort brought cash and gift cards.

"The community has just been amazing," Goode said.

Kelly couldn't hold back the tears.

"About one month ago, I finally said, 'I can't do this by myself. And I'm giving it to you,'" she said, pointing skyward.

And at that point, everything started changing the next day.

"Literally this has all happened by the grace of God, and all the people who believe in that grace," Kelly said. "There's no way to express this. No way.

"It's amazing," she continued. "Amazing grace, literally."

Fund raising is still underway to try to pay off the note, in order to make sure Venable has no mortgage. A Facebook page is in the process of being set up and a PayPal account already exists at emily.home4good@gmail.com.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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