PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A community pulled together to give a teenager a big gift designed to help him live with a disability. Eli Vivian is only 14 and already has a dream man cave.
“It was a playroom before all of this got done,” Eli explained.
The room has a snack bar, mini fridge, sports decorations, and of course, video games.
“This room is just unbelievable,” Eli said.
Eli has a brand new private bathroom too. Friends and family decorated custom tiles with heartwarming messages.
“I know it sounds silly, but it really brings tears to your eyes when you walk in there and see how much love is there in that bathroom,” Becky Vivian, Eli’s mother, said.
Eli has MLD — or metachromatic leukodystrophy — a degenerative disease that limits his ability to walk. His younger sister Ella has MLD too.
Eli can now move from bedroom to bathroom with minimal walking.
“We live in a community where people want to give back,” said Kristi Hertzog.
She founded the Limerick nonprofit Coming Home with Grace, which handled this renovation, using a combination of donations, volunteers and a lot of planning, all free to the family.
Hertzog herself has a daughter with special needs.
“People are good and they just want a cause to give to, and we are just blessed they chose to give to Coming Home with Grace so we could do this for Eli,” she said.
One of the volunteer contractors, Shaun Smith, of Rustic Red Door Company, has a background in physical therapy so he made sure the bathroom floor was flat and has room for a wheelchair.
“No cabinet, let’s just do a banjo-type sink, give them something to be able to put some weight on, some support on,” he explained.
Long-term, Hertzog says she would like to open a home for adults with special needs.
Eli is enjoying his independence, and cracking jokes.
“I can do whatever I want whenever I want to do it,” he said. “Except for at night.”