Sydni Pecevich has faced many challenges in her young life. The 8-year-old battled a malignant brain tumor and has cerebral palsy.
Her South Boston home had become yet another challenge.
It was not accessible by wheelchair, so her family often had to carry Sydni to the school bus. The Marine Road apartment also lacked space for much of the girl’s equipment.
Even though the family loves the neighborhood, Sydni’s mother, Cathy Jerome, who has lived in South Boston since 1989, had begun looking for a new home.
But on Tuesday, there was no talk of leaving. Instead, it was a day to celebrate a labor of love.
While the family was at Disney World recently, volunteers from the Iron Workers Local 7, employees with Suffolk Construction, and other companies completed a 75-foot wheelchair ramp on the side of their first-floor unit and a rear addition to the home, all for free. The addition includes an expanded living room and kitchen, a play area, and a bathroom.
Now, Sydni will have more space in which to move around and exercise and to have fun with her two siblings.
“This is amazing,” Jerome said Tuesday morning, surveying the renovations as the new work was formally unveiled. “This really changed our lives.”
Mayor Thomas M. Menino helped to spearhead the project and push through the red tape to get the work done quickly.
“A little act of kindness in the city of Boston is what we are all about,” Menino said, as he held Sydni's hand outside the home. The local unions and construction companies, including Feeney Brothers Excavation and Malatos Iron Works, stepped in and did the heavy lifting.
“It was a real cooperative effort by everyone,” said Bill Christopher, a local architect who helped design the addition. “Once you met Sydni, once you met her family, it was easy to do it.”
The volunteers sacrificed their weekends, but they aid their efforts were worth it.
“I have kids myself, and when I heard about this situation I felt obligated to help out,” said Chris Sponholtz, the foreman for the project and a member of Local 7.
“I’m blessed to have healthy kids, and if I can contribute that’s a good thing.”