It is an anniversary Deb Lucal would like to forget.
April 25, 1995. Lucal took her son, then 8-year-old Matthew, to see Dr. Eric Prack for his yearly checkup. A quick scan of the results showed something was wrong. Very wrong.
It was Muscular Dystrophy.
The Lucals (Deb and Ray) brought in their 5-year-old son, Nathan, to the next appointment.
He had it, too.
The last 12 years have been a challenge in the Lucal household. But they haven't had to go at it alone.
The community has stepped forward to help out. Support has come from every direction.
And the help has never been any greater than it has been on the latest project. A number of area residents are helping build an addition to the Lucal's home at 20 Katherine Way. When the work is done, each boy will have his own bedroom next to a large bathroom with whirlpool. There will be tracks in the ceiling with a hoist to help lift the boys out of bed and move them to the bathroom.
Both boys are confined to wheelchairs and it is difficult for mom and dad to get them around without any help.
The project was the brainchild of Tom and Sharon Austin. Once word got around, it took off.
"This is just awesome," Patti Wilde said during a lunch break Saturday afternoon. "Sharon called me. They applied for 'Extreme Makeover, Home Edition,' but couldn't wait that long. People are pretty generous here. Just by word of mouth we got the money. A lot of people know these boys and wanted to help out."
An announcement was put in the bulletin of the five local Catholic churches. The money started pouring in, Skip Wilde said. A pancake breakfast took place Sunday, raising another $2,000. Wilde said they would like to have all of the money raised before the project is over.
Patti and her husband, Skip, aren't rookies when it comes to helping out. They spend each Thanksgiving feeding those in need. They have traveled to Honduras once and Mississippi three times to help out those affected by Hurricane Katrina. And last year, they helped out a family on Willard Avenue in Norwalk build an addition to their house.
"It gives people who can't go to Honduras or Mississippi a chance to stay right here and help," Wilde said.
Local contractor Tom Smith is boss on the job.
"This is everything for them," Smith said. "A friend of mine heard about this and let me know about it."
Who makes up the crew? "Whoever shows up," Smith said. "We had 10 to 15 last week. They come and go. We had guys from the (Norwalk) fire department come in Monday and Tuesday. The guys in the fire department are pretty close to these boys."
Tom and his wife, Cindy, have four of their own children. But that doesn't stop them from helping others.
"This is what God wants us to be doing," said Tom Smith, who has made four trips to Honduras. "Like everything else, we're all in this together."
Matt, a 2005 graduate of St. Paul High School, and Nate, a sophomore at NHS, have been dealt a tough hand in life. But through it all, they know they have a lot of friends and have had help every step of the way.
Ray Lucal is grateful for all of the support.
"I asked one of the firemen the other day how we can thank them," he said. "Jeff Phillips said just to see the smiles on the boys' faces is enough."