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Extreme Makeover Home Edition: The Riojas Family!

March 08, 2009 05:58 PM by Candace Young


Climbing a rock wall, Ty Pennington reminds viewers that this season is all about heroes – and Maryanne Riojas and her four children have had an uphill climb. The ABC Extreme Makeover Home Edition design team is headed to Fresno California to help the family out. Maryanne was born without legs and only one fully-developed arm. Heather Burke from Easter Seals explains that when she was young, Maryanne didn’t even have the means to get a wheelchair. Ty says that Maryanne had a failed relationship, but even as a single mom, she attended college and never gave up. Maryanne has traveled across the country speaking on behalf of Easter Seals. She saved up enough to put money down on her first home, and now works to help others do the same, however, her own house is not safe for her, is not wheel-chair friendly, and the children, who are all in their late teens, worry about what will happen to her when they move out.

Ty Pennington does the Riojas family door knock, and the family emerges to welcome the Extreme Makeover Home Edition team! Ty notes that Maryanne doesn’t ask for help from anyone, so is she alright with them being there? Maryanne assures him she is fine with it. Ty tells the family that while the renovation is done, they will be going on a ski vacation to Crested Butte, Colorado.

Maryanne Riojas gives Ty Pennington a tour of their small home and shows him the difficulties that exist for her, and how it has led to her being injured in the past. She warns that there is asbestos in the house, and the Extreme Makeover Home Edition team will have to be cautious. Outside, Didiayer speaks to one teen daughter, who, sobbing, says it’s like her mother is trapped inside her own home. The son takes John into his room and shares with him that he is a fan of video games. Michael and Ed speak to the remaining two daughters, who are 11 months apart. They say their mom is there hero, and they love San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.


DeYoung Properties will be the builder for the Extreme Makeover Home Edition project in Fresno this week. The owner says that Maryanne’s home doesn’t work for her – they’re going to give her a safe place to live that works for her! Thousands of volunteers come out for the effort. The first thing Ty Pennington does is call in the asbestos team, who arrive and head in wearing white hazmat suits. Ty joins them, declaring the asbestos to be ‘nasty stuff’! Maryanne and her kids watch via video and are thrilled to see the first step toward a safe home taking place! Maryanne says with every wall she watched coming down she saw the removal of a barrier – she looks forward to her new accessible home!

By Day Three, the foundation is in and the walls are up on the Riojas family’s new home! John is working on a high-tech, Tokyo-themed room for Maryanne’s oldest son. Didiayer is making a bamboo bed for Jesse’s Asian oasis room. Ty’s special project this week on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, is Maryanne’s bedroom – he explains how he is designing her an awesome accessible bed! Ed is heading out in a helicopter to get as close as he can to the Golden Gate Bridge – it’s his inspiration for the two daughters’ room.

On Day 4, Michael explains how every aspect of the home has been designed with accessibility for Maryanne in mind – even the counters and sink in the kitchen are down low! John is at Easter Seals, meeting the people that Maryanne has impacted in her work. He says they’ll talk to the Riojas family via video to give them some good news! The family is having a blast in Colorado, but take time out to hear various people thank Maryanne. John then says that in honor of Easter Seals, ABC and CVS Pharmacy are donating $50,000 toward purchasing wheelchairs for kids, and starting a fund in her name. Maryanne is very touched.

Lumber Liqudators has arrived at the Extreme Makeover Home Edition site, and a solar panel roof is being installed to save the family lots of money on energy costs. Ed is designing a scale model Golden Gate Bridge for the teen girls’ room. Michael is at Sears purchasing appliances with a band of volunteers.

Day 6 finds Didiayer in the Asian Zen room she has created, and the other rooms coming together as well on Extreme Makover Home Edition. Soon, the house is ready for the furniture and dÃcor. Michael tries to sneak into Ty’s special room by hiding inside the rolled up carpet, but is caught!

The Riojas family is shocked to see the number of volunteers waiting as they pull up beside the Extreme Makeover Home Edition bus in their limousine. The crowd chants, “Move that bus!” At the first sight of her new home, Maryanne is overcome – she says when she first looked at the house, she saw freedom. Jerry and Paula from DeYoung Properties are introduced to the family, who thanks them. Jerry tells her they have raised over $125,000 in the community toward housing costs for the family. Ty leads the family toward the house.


Inside, the Riojas siblings and their mom are overwhelmed by the beauty of the open concept Extreme Makeover Home Edition home. They are also astounded at the wide spaces for Maryanne to get around in her wheelchair. John comes in and says that CVS Pharmacy has donated a motorized wheelchair for Maryanne – and also paid off all of her student loans! The single mother is so pleased, explaining the significance of having more independence. Maryanne’s son remarks on how everything is at his mom’s level. Maryanne raves over the new washer and dryer.

The eldest son sees his Tokyo room first – he is blown away – he can now create hi-tech video games in Tokyo! Jesse cries with happiness upon seeing her Asian Zen room, noting that her mother can now join her on the bed for a hug! The other two girls are thrilled with their divided room inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Next, Ty Pennington brings Maryanne to see her own bedroom – his special project this week. She says everything is gorgeous! He explains the design of her bed and bathroom – it is all totally accessible, and there is a fireplace to look at beside the tub! Maryanne says now she will be able to go out there and help others more! Ty says, “Welcome home, Riojas f

Topics: ABC Reality TV Shows, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Reality TV Listings |

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