Say hello to this year’s family 

For seven of his eight years, Sebastian has suffered from debilitating disease. He and his family have lived in hospitals, hotels, and the Ronald McDonald house. now that they finally have a home of their own, let’s join together to transform it into a place of peace, comfort, and joy!

 Every year, social workers at Driscoll Children’s Hospital recommend a family for an Extreme Christmas Makeover. Never have all of them made the same recommendation… until this year. I was shocked when everyone involved in the selection process, ranging from social workers to nurses, urged me to choose the same child… Sebastian.

The team at Driscoll has worked with Sebastian for many years, and has seen his suffering. One person remarked, “It’s hard for anyone on the outside to imagine what this family has gone through and for so long; if any family needs the joy of an Extreme Christmas Makeover, it’s them!”

By the time I went to meet Sebastian’s family, I already had four voicemails asking me if they were going to be the ones chosen for Extreme Christmas. The moment they opened their door and began sharing their story with me, it was clear that they were the family for this year’s project. It is time for them to share in the joy of celebrating Christmas in a home made new by God’s love!

Say hello to this year’s Extreme Christmas Makeover child: Sebastian.

Eight-year-old Sebastian has spent most of his life in and out of the ICU. With few exceptions, a hospital room has been his bedroom. Sebastian’s kidney problems first began at age one. Since then, he has spent countless months on dialysis, sometimes for 24 hours at a time. For two years, his family lived at the Ronald McDonald House while he received treatment. He is currently on his second transplant and the family has great hopes that this one will work. This journey has been incredibly difficult and painful for the entire family.

Many times, his parents, Mario and Cecelia, have held each other in prayer for their son, unsure whether he would live or die. Mario said, “You just can’t imagine what it feels like when the doctor tells you your child might not make it.”  The last time this happened, he and his wife held each other in the waiting room and cried out to God: “We trust You, Lord. No matter what happens, we trust You with our son. We don’t know what will happen, but we will take each day as it comes. ” 

We stood in Sebastian and his brother Emiliano’s bedroom as they shared their story. I could feel their heartbreak and desperation, and thought, this is why God brought us to this place: so we could bring joy and comfort to a family that has had so much pain. We can shine hope on a little boy who has known only hospitals. We can bring light to the entire family by giving them a home whose beauty is a reflection of God’s love.

You would never know the pain Sebastian has endured by looking at him. Sick as he has been, he still scampers down the hall and plays with his dog, Millie. “He would always be happy no matter what was happening to him,” his father said. “Even when Sebastian was on dialysis for 24 hours straight, he would always smile.”

Despite all he has suffered, Sebastian has continued to have a joyful heart. Now we have a chance to shine new happiness into his difficult circumstances. Through the Extreme Christmas Makeover project, you can help create a little boys’ dream bedroom. You can help provide the family with a brand-new kitchen that functions for everyone. You can build a playroom and study area for Sebastian and his brother so they can grow, play, and learn together. You can cultivate a beautiful backyard space for the whole family to enjoy. Together, we can offer the gift of comfort and rest to Mario and Cecelia who have endured so much so faithfully. We can shower joy on the entire family. 

Now that Sebastian’s family finally has a home, we want it to be all it can: a house brimming with beauty, peace, comfort, and joy—the very gifts we all long to come home to. What a beautiful opportunity we have! What a joy we can be to a family who has struggled for eight long years. Join us in being that life-changing present this Christmas season. 

Every year It all starts with our local children's hospital...

Our local children's hospital identify a family sometime in August.  We assess the scope of the transformation and spend the next month getting to know the family and the needs of their child struggling with a life threatening condition.  We will also gain insight into the physical requirements for the child with the medical team working on their treatment.  

Designing a plan, lining up professionals and working on products will began right away once a family has been identified.  On Sunday Dec. 2nd we will move the family out into accommodations provided by us.

The work week will start on Sunday Dec. 2nd and end on Saturday Dec. 8th by 2:00 pm.  The Extreme Christmas Makeover Reveal will take place Saturday Dec. 8th at 5:00 p.m. 

During the work week we will work day and night to transform everything.  With all the dedication from so many we will bring the best Christmas a child wants...a home!

Catherine Albert

Extreme  Christmas Makeover Director