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An Ordinary Family Facing Extraordinary Hardships…

And a Community the Rises to the Occasion

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– VOLUME TWO –

The Goodall Family Story

Featuring: Builders Care and a Community of Volunteers

Volume 2 goes “beyond the homecoming” to illustrate how acts of compassion can deeply affect and change the lives a family of eight facing difficult trials.

Kenny Goodall, a hardworking welder with plans to build his family their dream home, was suddenly diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) leaving him helpless to provide for his family. They found themselves stranded in a 100-year-old three bedroom home, while coming to terms with their father’s deteriorating disease.

When ICI Homes Division President Don Wilford discovered this family of strong faith, he was compelled to bring help.  Builders Care and ICI Homes rallied the Northeast Florida Builders Association and the Jacksonville community, doubling the size of their home in a fast-paced 2-week home makeover. The result give Kenny the peace he needed that his family was taken care of when his time had come.

However, only three days after their homecoming, Kenny and Karen’s  oldest son Kollin was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia. Kollin struggled with courage through two relapses and a bone marrow transplant, but eventually the doctors said they could do no more.  It was at that point Kollin decided to become alive more than some people do during their entire lives.

Episode Previews
Bonus Videos
The Premiere Night
THE INCREDIBLE BACKSTORY

It was this father and son’s dream to have their story told in hopes of giving light to others in times of suffering that would last beyond their own lifetime.”

 

Mick Richards, Producer/Director
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Building a Difference, a documentary television series spotlighting charitable endeavors and the people behind them, has completed its second volume of episodes featuring Builders Care, the nonprofit arm of the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA).  The full version of Building a Difference Volume Two: The Goodall Family Story was broadcast over more than 25 networks worldwide in a 13-part series of half-hour episodes.

“Builders Care is no stranger to the Building a Difference series,” says Mick Richards, Executive Producer/Director and owner of DeepLight Entertainment. “With the 16 episodes of Volume One, we’ve been able to share inspiring stories of how Builders Care has helped various families in its own community. “Volume Two, however, is a bit different. It’s based solely on the story of one particular family struggling through difficult hardships — and a compassionate community that rises to the challenge of helping them through some very tough situations.”

Kenny's Story
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The series introduces Kenny and Karen Goodall, who met young and married shortly thereafter. “Kenny always had ambitions of providing for a large family,” says Karen. “He wanted lots of kids and grandkids. He wanted to be surrounded by them.” Kenny, a hardworking welder and construction man, bought a 10-acre lot on which he planned to build a dream home for his family.  However, those plans came to an abrupt halt when Kenny was diagnosed with ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. “

ALS patients usually have two to three years of life after being diagnosed,” explains Dara Alexander, former president of the ALS Association Florida Chapter. “As an incurable neuromuscular disease, it took its toll on Kenny, progressing rapidly. Though his mind remained sound, he soon lost the ability to move and eventually to speak.

Karen was having an extremely difficult time caring for Kenny around the clock while trying to keep six broken-hearted children emotionally strong as they watched their father’s illness progress. Making matters worse, this family of eight was packed in a three-bedroom home built in the 1940s.

With little communication ability, Kenny worried about how his family would be taken care of after he was gone. But the Goodalls had a strong faith and prayed fervently for an answer.

That’s when Builders Care discovered this family. “I’ve been in the construction business for over 30 years and felt a kinship with Kenny when I heard he was a welder,” says Don Wilford, President of ICI Homes North Florida Division and a Builders Care board member.

“But when I sat down on their couch and looked in Kenny’s eyes, heard Karen’s heart, and played with their beautiful children, I knew we had to do something — and we had to do it fast.”

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Not in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen something like this ever happening.”

Karen Goodall
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Construction Begins
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With ICI as its partner, Builders Care quickly rallied the industry’s premier trade partners. “It was important for us to get everyone in the same room at the same time,” says Chris Simons, Senior Project Manager of Builders Care. “These were the heavy hitters. And when they heard about the plight of this family, there was no stopping this project.”

The high-powered construction team quickly began the massive undertaking of doubling the size of the Goodalls’ home in a fast-paced blitz build. “To hear that Builders Care was going to add onto our home to make it more accommodating for our large family, as well as for Kenny’s needs while he was still here with us, was an absolute blessing from God,” says Karen. “Not in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen something like this ever happening.”

The Bible says the two greatest commandments are to love God and love people,” says Chris Simons, Senior Project Manager of Builders Care. “During those two weeks, I believe we were given the opportunity to do both.”

 

Chris Simons, Builders Care Pastor

Bill Wilson, Founder of Builders Care, wanted to go even further with the blessing. “Normally on fast and furious projects like this, we ask families to leave and don’t bring them back until the job is finished,” he says. “But on this one, we wanted Kenny to be out there with us so that he and his family could be a part of the event at every stage. Kenny couldn’t speak, but we knew he’d be lit up the whole time with his thoughts and emotions — and that in itself was going to be a huge gift for him.”

For two solid weeks, Building a Difference cameras rolled as the Builders Care team worked alongside ICI employees, volunteer trades people, family, friends, and eager volunteers from all over the country.

“The Bible says the two greatest commandments are to love God and love people,” says Chris Simons, Senior Project Manager of Builders Care. “During those two weeks, I believe we were given the opportunity to do both. And by giving the Goodalls a new home, Kenny was able to have peace knowing his family would be cared for and able to spend his final days with them in a safe, comfortable new environment.”

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Kollin's Story
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Then, almost unbelievably, the family was stricken with another tragedy. Kollin, the oldest of the Goodall children at 14, had been feeling unusually fatigued throughout the duration of the  project. No longer able to ignore his curious condition, Karen took him to the doctor for tests. The news wasn’t good. Only three days after completion of their new home, Kollin was diagnosed with leukemia.

Shortly thereafter, the ALS had taken its course, and Kenny passed away peacefully surrounded by friends and family. “The funeral was emotional for everyone there, but we all knew Kenny had gone home to be with the Lord,” says David Beecher, Associate Pastor of Mill Creek Baptist Church and longtime friend of Kenny.

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Kollin continued to struggle with his leukemia and eventually needed a bone marrow transplant. His younger sister, Kaley, was a perfect match, and a transplant procedure was performed. Initially, doctors held high hopes for a remission — but sadly, it wasn’t to be.

“Karen received a call from the hospital and couldn’t believe what she heard,” says family friend Billy Willett. “She was told that Kollin’s leukemia had become terminal, and there was nothing more that could be done. As soon as she hung up the phone she began crying on my shoulder saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening; I just can’t believe this is happening.’ ”

Brother David and I rushed to the hospital,” recalls Karen. “While talking to the doctor, I turned to David and told him that I couldn’t ask the question that needed to be asked. So he turned to the doctor and spoke the words I couldn’t: ‘How long does Kollin have?’ The doctor said one to two weeks at most. I was completely shocked and stunned.”

In the midst of the ensuing storm, both Kollin and Karen asked Building a Difference to continue telling their family’s story through this painful time. During one of Kollin’s final on-camera interviews, he said: “If I wasn’t a Christian I would be scared to death. I don’t want to leave everyone because I’m going to miss them so much, but if I’m just going to suffer down here, I’d rather be up there, because up there I’m going to get to be with my dad.”

“I don’t want to leave everyone because I am going to miss them so much…but if I’m just going to suffer down here. I’d rather be up there, because up there I’m going to get to be with my dad.”

Kollin Goodall
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Mick Richards spent most of his time with the family during the last few months of Kollin’s life. “Documenting on camera everyone’s journey through Kollin’s final days was one of the hardest things I have ever been asked to do,” he explains.  “Not many people understood why I agreed to do it, and some didn’t even necessarily approve. But Kollin had something he wanted to say to the world, and I made him a promise that I would help him say it. Kenny also wanted his story told, and I made him the same promise.”

Richards adds that the result was “the most beautiful story Building a Difference and Builders Care has ever had the privilege to tell. Underneath the tragedy of suffering, there’s a hidden beauty waiting to be discovered if we allow God to show it to us. And that’s what I hope people will discover in this story.”

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“…an inspirational reminder of that adage and how it can work in the lives of people helping those less fortunate. It helps us realize that everyone has the capacity to reach out to others in need. We all have something to give. We just have to open our eyes and look around.”

 DOVE APPROVED — Five Doves, Dove.org