A spinal cord injury (SCI) patient of the Baltimore, Md-based Kennedy Krieger Institute, and his family were recently selected for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Producers of the show approached Kennedy Krieger Institute and asked the hospital to generate a wish list of amenities that would help create a dream home for Brain Keefer, aged 24 years, who is paralyzed in all four limbs. 

“When the show first contacted us to let us know Brian was being considered, they asked us what equipment we would recommend to design the therapy room of his dreams,” Nikia Stinson, one of Brian’s outpatient physical therapists says. Producers also asked, “How we would remodel the house to make it most accessible for him, so that he could be as independent as possible,” she says.

After brainstorming, Brian’s care team at the institute’s International Center for Spinal Cord injury, the resulting list included range of therapeutic equipment and tools. Items suggested by the care team and provided by the show include a bodyweight support harness that moves along a special track throughout parts of Brian’s home, providing independent movement, a voice operated system allowing the ability to open and close doors and do other tasks, and a HydroWorx therapy pool, similar to those utilized by Kennedy Krieger’s aquatherapy.

During filming, Kennedy Krieger provided expert advice and welcomed the film crew to tape Brian during therapy and for a second time during an “inspirational visit” to meet patients and staff at the institute.

More than 30 Kennedy Krieger staff members attended the “reveal”—the term the show uses for when the recipient sees the makeover for the first time. 

Also making an on-camera appearance was Kennedy Krieger’s Patrick Rummerfield, world-renowned tri-athlete, racecar driver, and motivational speaker. Rummerfield regained full function after a spinal cord injury that rendered him a paraplegic. 

Paul Dimeo, cast member, and a designer who played a primary role in the remodeling of the Keefer home told Kennedy Krieger staff members that he was amazed by the work that they do and that he was fortunate to see it first hand, “It really is a special place,” he says.

The episode will air October 21, 8/7c (check local listings) on ABC.

Source: Kennedy Krieger Institute