DIY SOS team to transform home of disabled girl (8)

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BBC’S Nick Knowles and his team from flagship TV show DIY SOS will be joined by local tradesmen to transform the home of a severely disabled girl in Weston Hills.

Eight-year-old Dakota Read cannot walk or talk and has to be fed through a tube after complications at birth left her and mum Paula fighting for their lives.

They survived, but Dakota was later diagnosed with quadriplegic dystonic cerebral palsy.

In 2011 the Spalding Guardian launched its own campaign, asking local builders and tradesmen to give up their time to transform the family’s garden in Broadgate so Dakota was able to get around it in her specially-adapted walker.

But inside the family home remained a minefield of obstacles – and Dakota’s 18-year-old brother Jake was forced to sleep in the garden shed to make more space for his little sister.

But they are now hoping that is all about to change thanks to the DIY SOS television team, who will receive help in transforming the home from local tradespeople.

Many have already signed up after an appeal went out on social networking site Twitter, and work is due to start on Tuesday.

The big “reveal” will take place on Thursday, January 24, when the cameras will be rolling to capture the emotional moment when the family, which also includes Dakota’s 17-year-old sister Lachan, will get to see their revamped home for the first time.

The makeover of Dakota’s home will be watched by an audience of around six million viewers when it is aired on primetime television later this year.

Researchers from the series were in Spalding earlier this week meeting some of the tradesmen who have already offered their services to make the dream come true.

They were all told of the struggles Dakota and her family face every day.

Although the eight-year-old can understand everything and communicate through sounds and eye movements, the one thing that medical experts say will improve her quality of life is more mobility.

Her current life expectancy is only 15 years, but higher activity levels would not only be good for her general wellbeing 
but could help her live much longer.

Paula is now a single mum and a carer attends the family’s bungalow several times a week to help with Dakota.

A spokesman for DIY SOS said: “Jake and Lachan have also been through a lot, being older siblings to a little sister with such huge needs, supporting their mother and watching her struggle financially as well as with medical conditions resulting from the traumatic birth.

“Despite all this Lachan is managing to do so well at school she is a year ahead of her peers and she and Jake both play hockey at a national level.

“Both are applying to universities near enough to get home in case of emergencies and to keep supporting both Dakota and Paula.”

“DIY SOS is all about taking on really ambitious builds to help out truly deserving families like the Reads.”