COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -- A North Idaho group is working ease the burden on local families battling ALS.
The disease often requires people to make significant structural and technology changes just to stay in their homes. A local foundation is working with builders to design and build a home made specifically for people with ALS.
It is a dirt lot now, but in less than a year, it's going to be something very special.
"I don't think anyone knows until they go through it – how much equipment and specialized stuff is needed," Matt’s Place Foundation Founder Matt Wild.
Wild was once an aviation ordinance man in the Marines. He now focuses his time on a terminal enemy: ALS. Wild was diagnosed with the disease in 2015 and knows what an ALS-friendly home needs.
He and his wife run the Matt’s Place Foundation, which helps local ALS families in need. They wanted to make a home specifically for people fighting this terminal disease.
Enter Charlie Rens with the North Idaho Builders and Contractors Association. He helped draw up the blueprints.
"This side is the garage that's been sized for a van, so they can drive in, be able to offload the wheelchair inside," Rens explained.
Essentially, this will be a smart home built around ALS patients. It is not only accessible, but will also have electronics that can be controlled using an ALS patient's voice or eyes, like the technology Steve Gleason uses. A majority of the materials to build the home have already been donated by local businesses.
"Idaho Forest group has donated the entire lumber package," said Angela Erickson with the North Idaho Builders and Contractors Association.
Once it's done, the home will be available for local ALS patients and their families. The plans will then be shared as a model for future ALS-friendly homes.
Wild knows that sharing this home with other families will ease a major financial burden. He's already envisioning the day that first family moves in here. The group hopes to have the home completed by the end of August.