Teresa Sperger and her family were overcome with emotion late Monday afternoon, after a bus moved a couple of feet down the street and brought into view their revamped and renovated Aldergrove home.
They were the recipients of the ninth annual Acts of Kindness Extreme Home Repair.
Established in 2004, the AOK's Extreme Home Repair project annually transforms the home of a local individual or family facing difficult circumstances related to their housing and resources.
For 10 days this month, culminating with the Victoria Day reveal, Aldergrove Adventist Church's AOK team repaired and renovated the 2,200 sq. foot, two-storey Aldergrove house Teresa and her family have called home for the past 13 years.
It was an immeasurable boost for a family - which includes Cody, 23, Alicia, 20, and Kyle, 16 - that suffered a crushing blow when Teresa's youngest child, seven-year-old Christopher, lost his battle with cancer in 2007.
In 2003, Christopher was diagnosed with Stage IV high risk neuroblastoma, a cancerous tumour that develops from nerve tissue. Over the next four years, Teresa left her work so she could spend as much time as she could with her ailing son. Repairing the house dropped off Teresa's priority list.
The projects started to pile up: the kitchen needed a complete reno, the leaking roof needed an overhaul, and the broken-up driveway needed fixing, just to name a few of the repairs needed for the house.
Among the work completed by the handy AOK volunteers: new flooring was installed, the roof was repaired, and the exterior was refinished.
"I had to be off work, so the money was tight, and we weren't able to do very much," said Teresa, as she addressed the crowd Monday.
Her voice tight, and fighting back tears, Teresa added, "My dad has done so much for me, to keep a roof over our heads. When Christopher passed away in 2007 I really gave up. I let everything go. I had no money to replace things that needed to be done. Things were just let go because I just didn't care."
Along came the AOK service team of more than 150 volunteers and 90 contributing businesses.
Extreme Home Repair's Lorne Brownmiller and team leader Pastor Mike Dauncey were happy to see another project completed successfully.
"Each and every year is extremely special to us," Brownmiller said. "You sometimes take on these projects and you wonder if it's the right one. There are a number of people that we go through in terms of nominations and each time we have been encouraged and extremely blessed to know that the family we have chosen needed it and we were able to step in, and the people answered the call."
The hour or so prior to the family's arrival was a frenzied time. Volunteers busily hung photos, dusted, and put the final touches on the home, before the family had its first look at the transformation.
Dauncey said seeing how thankful Teresa was, even before the renovations began, gave him the most gratification.
"She said, 'You have given me a new beginning,'" he related. "It was very rewarding to hear that this is impacting her life and her family's life in a huge way."
Past recipients have paid it forward during the 2012 Extreme Home Repair. The entire Grochowski family, which benefited last year, Karen Weeks from 2010, and Joyce Myckatyn from 2009, have all lent their support to this year's project.
Brownmiller called the Spergers a "great family that has come out of a dark place."
"One of the most rewarding things with this, is seeing their countenance change as this approaches," Brownmiller said. "And never mind that, how it will change afterwards, is incredible."
Before the reveal, Teresa shared how the past 10 days have been difficult. The family has been staying in Walnut Grove during the home repair, and Teresa said, driving past the 264th Street exit on Highway One, instead of turning onto it to head to her home, "has been one of the hardest things for me, but I knew that some great things were happening."
Teresa said the AOK team gave her renewed hope.
"It made me realize that there are good people out there, and that things can happen, and I don't have to sell my house," she said.