Hall Family Profile
“I was diagnosed with cancer when Madi was a baby,” says Habitat homeowner Sabrina.
Her daughter was just 18-months-old when she found out she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of cancer that originates in your white blood cells. She needed to take time off work to undergo treatment, and the loss of income forced her and her husband to move their young family from their comfortable rented house to a tiny apartment that was difficult to heat.
“We were literally piling blankets on top of Madison at night, hoping the space heaters didn’t give out so she wouldn’t freeze at night,” Sabrina says. But with her off work to focus on recovering, they couldn’t afford to move. A few months after finishing her chemotherapy treatments, just as “things were looking up,” Madison’s father took his own life and Sabrina was thrust into being a single parent and providing for her daughter on her own.
“The universe had a path that I was not prepared to take,” Sabrina says.
To make matters worse, Madison had been diagnosed with ADHD, and their small apartment provided nowhere for her to release her energy. “The doctor is literally telling you, ‘she needs to be somewhere she can get this out,’” says Sabrina, who was left feeling exhausted, stressed and, perhaps worst of all, as though she was failing her daughter.
After a co-worker recommended Habitat for Humanity, Sabrina looked up the homeowner application online and decided to apply. It wasn’t long before she received a call from Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region. They had a property available and wanted her to fill out more paperwork to assess her eligibility to become a Habitat homeowner.
“I cried on the phone,” says Sabrina, who admits there were even more tears when she was selected for a home. “There was a lot of crying, and just so much excitement,” she says with a laugh. The partnership involved contributing 500 volunteer hours to Habitat, which Sabrina completed working in the office and ReStore of her local Habitat, and paying the fair market value of the home through an affordable mortgage geared to her income.
Now that they’re in their new Habitat home, Madison can run out the front door to play with friends, who live just down the street, or go out the back door to play in their fenced-in yard. “She’s able to expend the energy she wasn’t able to before,” Sabrina says.
The home has also provided a fresh start for Sabrina. Because her mortgage is geared to her income, she’s able to support her daughter while working part-time and pursuing a career in health management.
“Because of the security the house has given us, I can actually go back to school and feel like I’m going to be able to do this,” she says.
“Being able to come into this house, and being taken into that Habitat family, it had gone from, ‘my life has completely fallen apart’ to ‘hey there’s hope.’”