Griffin family seeking help with renovations to home

CHELSEA – Gabe Griffin’s crusade against Duchenne muscular dystrophy has taken him across the country, but the next battle is taking place in the Griffins’ Chelsea home.

The family is hoping the community will help as the basement of the home is renovated for Gabe’s accessibility as the rare disease progresses and mobility becomes more challenging.

The Griffins considered moving to a home that would be more accessible for Gabe. They happened to stop by the model home at a Chelsea development and met Wayne Scotch of Scotch Homes through a mutual friend.

Scotch had heard of Gabe’s fight against Duchenne, and Scott Griffin told him of the family’s dilemma about moving versus renovating their current home of 13 years.

After running into the Griffins again a couple of months later, Scotch was impacted by seeing Scott Griffin carry Gabe out of a local restaurant.

“I came to find out later that that really hit home with Wayne,” Scott Griffin said.

Several more weeks later, Scott Griffin decided to call Scotch and tell him the family had decided to stay and renovate their home—and ask if Scotch would be interested in coordinating the renovation or could recommend another contractor.

“He said, ‘When the phone rang, I was sitting here with my wife and told her that if the Griffins called me to renovate my house, I was going to do it for cost,’” Griffin said about Scotch, who added that the situation had been “weighing on my heart.”

“I truly believe that God opens up doors for us, and we just have to have the courage and strength to walk through it,” Griffin said. “It’s amazing how all those things happen. I think God is putting all the right people in our lives to help us get through this.”

The renovations will allow Gabe to move from his upstairs bedroom to the basement, which will be more accessible for a scooter or wheelchair.

All the doors and hallways will be widened, and bathroom modifications will include removing the existing tub and installing a roll-in shower.

The most significant work will be to install an elevator that will allow Gabe to access the second floor of the home without being carried.

The move will also allow Gabe to have an area where he can spend time with friends playing video games and watching television.

And the Griffins—Scott, his wife Tracy and their four children, including Gabe—will be able to stay in their home.

“Duchenne has already taken so much from us,” Griffin said. “I didn’t want to let it take our house.”

Though Scotch and his contractors are seeking to get as much of the material and labor donated as possible, the cost of the renovations will still be more than $50,000.

Michael Staley, who has helped the Griffins with several of their efforts and is volunteering to help solicit donations for the project, said he hopes at least $40,000 in donations can be collected.

“The Griffins have been fighting since Gabe was diagnosed to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” Staley said. “They have fought to raise money and awareness to support research for a cure. Now, they have a need at home, and I am going to be asking the community to help them. Living with a rare disease in the family is enough to deal with.”

Griffin said the family has not sought donations before but has been asked repeatedly by people who want to contribute.

“People feel led to help,” Griffin said. “Michael wanted to set this up and run with it and take some of the burden off. If there are people who want to help, why not let them help.”

Donations can be made through PayPal (PayPal.me/gabegriffinproject), Venmo (@GabeRGriffin), U.S. mail (check payable to Gabe Griffin, 1036 Baldwin Lane, Birmingham) or Regions Bank (visit any branch and donate to the Gabe Griffin charity account).

More information can be found at HopeforGabe.org on Facebook (Hope for Gabe Inc. and Ride4Gabe).