A deaf couple, who received renovations to their home on ABC's Extreme Home Makeover, fear they may lose it. Judy and Larry Vardon, weighed down by a mortgage payment that has almost doubled since the makeover, worries the house could face foreclosure.
When host Ty Pennington arrived at the Vardon's home with the Extreme Home Makeover crew four years ago, he promised to give them a home that would help them better accommodate their blind, autistic son. The episode, which aired Nov. 6, 2004, set a ratings record when millions of viewers tuned in to see the tranformation of the 980 square-foot home in Oak Park, Michigan. In addition to mortgage payments, the couple also owes $20,000 for autism treatment — which isn't covered by their medical insurance — for their 16-year-old son, Lance. Larry Vardon also worries that he'll keep his job at Chrysler LLC's Sterling Heights stamping plant, as the company — along with other Detroit automakers — is on the brink of bankruptcy. "I'm afraid I'm going to lose my house now," Judy Vardon, using sign language through an interpreter, told The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens. "This house really belongs to Lance. This is his environment. He can't speak out for himself, and I hope we can save this house." After the makeover, which included installing flat-screen monitors for Lance, the couple refinanced the mortgage. Their monthly payments went from $1,200 to $2,300.
"We didn't have bad spending habits," Judy said. "My husband got laid off for a time, and insurance wouldn't cover Lance's autism therapy and some other things like his vision and special dental work." The couple is now working with a nonprofit group that aids families in crisis to help them negotiate a lower mortgage rate. "We're a close family that loves each other," Judy said. "I feel that I was given this life to show others that you can face these challenges."
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