The Drews family (from left) Brooke

Chilliwack family struggles to save home from foreclosure

A Chilliwack family of six, one of who has severe muscular dystrophy, is facing foreclosure on their wheelchair accessible home.



If having a child with severe muscular dystrophy wasn’t hard enough, a Chilliwack family is now facing foreclosure on their wheelchair accessible home.

Alanna and Wes Drews are $35,000 in arrears on their mortgage. If they want to stay in their home, their mortgage must be squared up in full by Jan. 11, a judge ruled in October.

“We’ve always owned our own home,” said Alanna. “It’s hard, definitely. You just feel sick to your heart.”

It makes it harder too when the family of six requires a wheelchair accessible home for youngest daughter Nikki, who was diagnosed four years ago with an aggressive form of limb girdle muscular dystrophy.

A Christmas craft fair fundraiser is being held this Saturday (Dec. 10) from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at White Album Wedding Chapel on Adams Road to support the family.

Limb girdle muscular dystrophy is a progressive disease that deteriorates the muscles. For 12-year-old Nikki, who’s not expected to live past her late teens, her muscles are wasting away at an accelerated pace.

“Her muscles are dying,” said Alanna. “She has no reflexes, no strength, and she has severe scoliosis.”

Within six months of diagnosis, Nikki, who used to play soccer and skip rope with her big sister, required a wheelchair.

Their heritage home was retrofitted to meet her needs.

A new kitchen was built with lower counters for Nikki to access, as well as a high-countered island so that she could sit with her wheelchair and eat meals with the family. The hallways were widened. The bathroom was expanded to fit a full wheelchair accessible shower. The sitting room on the first floor was also transformed into a bedroom for Nikki, which includes a ceiling lift to get her in and out of bed.

As well, the short stairwell down into the sunken living room was recently fitted for a lift, paid for by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, but the installation has been put on hold until the family knows whether or not they’ll be staying in the house.

The Drews never thought they’d be in this position.

A few years ago, Alanna quit her job as a care aid to attend to her daughter’s full-time needs. At the time, the family was comfortable. Wes had a secure, full-time job as a welder and fabricator.

“For 25 years, it was never slow,” said Alanna. “He’s always been busy with his work.”

But when the economy took a nosedive, Wes’ hours got severely cut back. A year and a half ago, he picked up a second job at Save-on-Foods to help make ends meet.

It didn’t help.

The family scrimped as much as it could, they cashed in their RRSPs, but “once you get behind on one bill, you try to catch up, but then you get behind on another and another, and it just snowballs,” said Alanna.

“It got really bad in January or February of this year. We realized we just were not making it.”

At the Oct. 11 court hearing, when the judge gave them three months to pay their mortgage in full, panic set in.

More than just eight and a half years of memories, their house is Nikki’s safe haven.

“Replacing it is almost impossible,” said Alanna. “Finding one that’s big enough for all us, and is wheelchair accessible, and meets Nikki’s needs, I don’t know if that’s possible.

“Everything is so right here.”

The I Heart Nikki Christmas Craft Fair is on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at White Chapel on Adams Road.

Funds raised will support the family.

So far, $8,631 has been raised.

For more information, or to donate, visit the website www.http://www.iheartnikki.com.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Five Corners Intersection project to start in downtown Chilliwack this spring

A traffic signal, streetlights, water main, new curb/sidewalk, and 3,000 sq.m. of paving are coming

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Hockey referees chased away by parental abuse

Visit a hockey arena today and little has changed from when Bill Lillicrap wrote his column in 1975.

Zoning changes on deck at city hall are ready for review

‘Let’s Talk Zoning’ session for the public is Tuesday, February 11, at Evergreen Hall

Chilliwack population growth among the fastest in B.C.

City surpasses Victoria for 13th largest city in province

Human rights complaint against Chilliwack non-profit withdrawn

Human Rights Tribunal no longer has hearing scheduled for former PEARL Life Renewal Society employee

VIDEO: Chilliwack arson victim lights up rural property like a runway

Chris Thompson had enough after twice having barns torched in suspicious circumstances

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Most Read