"Riojas Family" -- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will be traveling to Fresno, California to tell Mary Ann Riojas and her family that they'll have a new home in only seven days. Born without legs and only one fully developed arm, Mary Ann isn't a stranger to adversity. Now the home she currently shares with her four children-with its cramped and crumbling conditions-doesn't accommodate her special needs, making day-to-day living all the more challenging.
From an early age, Mary Ann was determined to lead an independent and active life. She participated in chores and played hopscotch with her able-bodied siblings and friends, using a skateboard. At five she was introduced to the Easter Seals, which became a great support to her. Growing up in poverty and an unstable household, Mary Ann was eventually placed in foster care. Soon after graduating high school, she got married and had four children, but they struggled financially. Through determination she got a driver's license, a college degree in business and eventually a job working with the Easter Seals (the organization that helped to support her development), which went on to select Mary Ann as their California Ambassador and then as their National Ambassador in 2005. Traveling throughout the U.S., Mary Ann told her story in schools and to corporate sponsors and inspired people to overcome adversity and reach for success. In 2006 she became a first-time homeowner, and has since counseled other struggling families looking fodegree in business and eventually a job working with the Easter Seals (the organization that helped to support her development housing.
Unfortunately Mary Ann's home has also led to physical injuries and challenges: to get into the bathroom and bedroom that her three teenage daughters share, she must leave her wheelchair; the steps leading into the living room and garage are dangerous and frustrating; she's also unable to cook in her kitchen because she can't reach some of the appliances, like the microwave. In the face of these potential hazards, Mary Ann's children are concerned for their mother's safety, especially when she's home alone.
Now it's up to Ty and the designers to build this incredibly inspiring woman a home designed for her special needs, where she can safely and happily live with her four children. While Ty and the designers, local builder De Young Properties and hundreds of volunteers and workers are building their home, the Riojas family will go on a ski vacation to Crested Butte, Colorado.