UPDATED: April 6 at 2:10 p.m. (Video added April 7 at 7:23 a.m.)
It's not every day you get to hear a crowd of people cheering your name. But that's exactly what Ally Carel heard last night in her hometown of Hamilton Illinois.
Ally's cerebral palsy makes it hard to get around town in her wheelchair. Her family hopes to make their dream come true with the help of Extreme Makeover Home Edition on ABC.
Tuesday night, hundreds of Ally's hometown supporters from the Hamilton area attended a rally at Hamilton High. Orange and blue posters, poms and ribbons flooded the gym, the colors of Ally's favorite sports team, the Denver Broncos.This crowd wants to get the attention of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The Carel family applied for the show about a month ago. Since then, producers have told the family, if they get picked, they'd like not only to rebuild their home but also revamp the city's library, middle school and parks to make it easier for Ally to get around.
We found it's the little things in life that would make her dream come true.
"I would just be very happy because I would just get to do everything by myself," said Ally.
Confined to her wheelchair most of the day, these steps are no friend to Ally or her parents.
"Do you have ramps around other places in town? Yes, sometimes but not very much," said Ally.
"They live in what many of the style houses in Hamilton are, that's a split level, No matter if you want to go upstairs or downstairs, you gotta go up or down," said Mayor Steve Woodruff.
Most everywhere Ally goes, her parents are there to carry her when needed. It's an obstacle she faces at school as well as the local parks and the library.
"My mom and dad have to carry me down the steps and I tell them which books and they get it," said Ally.
"As she gets older that starts to get embarrassing for her to have to be carried," said Becky.
"What would you like to happen? Just for me to pick out my own books and make me come down by myself," said Ally.
Right now, Ally's electric wheelchair is the only independence she has to do what she wants.
"Have you talked to people about getting ramps going? In certain places we have but nobody has the funding to do it and its so expensive on their own. Some places are so old they've been grandfathered in like the library, to where they don't have to be handicapped accessible. And that's hard on Ally and elderly people too," said Becky.
"I think that if Extreme Makeover would be kind enough to come to our area and they could fix things like the library, that would be not just a blessing to that little girl that's very active, but it would be a blessing to many others who walk with a walker or cane. They'd utilize it as much as she would," said Woodruff.
For now, Ally and her family continue to receive unbelievable support from the entire Tri-State area.
"We're all here for the Rally for Ally and we hope that she really gets this. The community really need this because a lot of things here aren't handicapped accessible. We're here for you Ally and we hope you get this dream come true!" said members of Hamilton High's pom team and cheerleaders.
"It would just be nice for her to have the freedoms to go and do what she wants on her own," said Becky.
You can encourage the producers of Extreme Makeover Home Edition to come to Hamilton. The Carel family also has a Facebook page sharing Ally's story.
UPDATED: April 4 at 3:36 p.m.
Jason and Becky Carel have asked the ABC show Extreme Makeover Home Edition to help their 9-year-old daughter Ally. She has cerebral palsy forcing her to live her life in a wheel chair. Monday, the Carel family got some really good news.
Extreme Home Makeover producers called them Monday saying they are pushing for the show to come to Hamilton, Illinois.
Even better, producers not only want to construct a new home for the Carels, they want to revamp the community too, including the middle school, library and parks that Ally often uses.
*Note that the Carel family still is just a possibility; nothing's official just yet.*
Producers says one of the problems at this time is that there's not a local builder in Hamilton. They say usually builders like to stay within a 60-mile radius.
That's where you come in. Help the producers of Extreme Home Makeover find a builder in the area. If you can help this family make Ally's dream come true, let the Carel family know on their Facebook page here or let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATED: March 24 at 3:45 p.m.
KHQA would like to remind the public to check for updates on the Carel's Facebook page here.
Discussion is still taking place on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/topic.php?uid=10150136203045543&topic=18653 so feel free to leave a brief comment. Ally has truly enjoyed reading every single comment that has been posted to date.
Lil Miss Bowhead Couture is making an "Ally" bow and will be selling them. If anyone is interested in purchasing one of these, please find LilMiss Bowhead Couture on Facebook.
UPDATED: March 21 at 4:15 p.m.
Extreme Makeover Home Edition has announced it's coming to Illinois.
KHQA's been told that it's asking for nominations to be emailed to email@example.com.
Nowadays it seems that the fastest way to gain supporters for a cause is via Facebook.
The Carel's set up their Facebook page to gain awareness.
It's hard to think about being confined to a wheelchair 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you've never had to be.
But one 9 year old in Hamilton has no choice.
Allyson Carel has cerebral palsy -- a disorder of movement or coordination caused by an abnormality of the brain.
"It's one of those things where you don't realize until you're put into this situation, how difficult it is to go up and down the steps," said Ally's mom Becky Carel.
You wouldn't tell how hard it is, by the constant smile on Ally's face. She laughs as she takes me on a tour of her house, but as she turns around... the back of her head tells a different story. Ally has had 9 surgeries, counting the latest March third. She was just in St. Louis Saturday morning.
"I was getting my stitches taken out from surgery for my shunt," Ally says. "It controls the pressure that happens to me in my head."
Ally was born at 29 weeks old -- she weighed just more than three pounds. When she was four months old she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
"When she was littler, it was easier for us to carry her, or transport her in the car and stuff. Now she's older and gotten taller, it makes it that much more difficult to get her up and down the stairs. It's hard to carry her and find a position to carry her where her legs aren't dragging on the ground behind you," said Becky.
The problem? Their house isn't growing with her. Ally and her older sister Alexis's bedrooms are downstairs with a handicapped toilet. The full bath is upstairs.
"I would just like to be able to move around my house and get in the bath and a whole bunch of other things, by myself, without my parents having to help me," said Ally.
With a push from their family and friends, the Carel's have applied for the ABC show Extreme Home Makeover.
"Her ultimate goal is to walk. So, a lot of things that we can put into something like that would be able to accommodate her needs, and really be able to focus on some of the things we really would like to reach," said Ally's father Jason.
They want the show to not only help their family. They want it to help the whole community.
"When she gets to the middle school, which is in three years when she's in 7th grade, that has no elevator at all. You have to go downstairs just to even get to the cafeteria and that school is not handicapped accessible at all," said Becky.
The Carel's keep their spirits high...
"We're just trying to make things better for the community and for Ally and some of the things she does," said Jason.
And try to make their dreams a reality ...
"To be able to give her the independence that every 9 year old deserves, for her to be able to get around so easily and play at the playground or the park, or whatever with her friends, with equipment that she can get on and do it, to me, it'd be amazing. It'd be a dream come true," said Becky.
If you would like to send a donation to the Carels, Ally has a savings account set up at:
First State Bank in Hamilton1035 BroadwayHamilton, IL 62341.
Also, you can recommend the Carel family to Extreme Home Makeover by clicking this link.
They also have a Facebook page set up.