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Neighbors replace roof for family battling rare affliction

Several dozen residents of the Warrensburg-Thurman area — many of them members of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church — worked together October 18 and Oct. 19 to install a new roof on the Warrensburg home of Cathy LaFond-Evans, whose family members are battling a rare genetic disorder that has crimped their finances.

Several dozen residents of the Warrensburg-Thurman area — many of them members of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church — worked together October 18 and Oct. 19 to install a new roof on the Warrensburg home of Cathy LaFond-Evans, whose family members are battling a rare genetic disorder that has crimped their finances. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Cathy LaFond-Evans, whose family members are struggling to cope with mitochondrial disease, stood at the side of her driveway Saturday Oct. 16.

As she watched various members of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church and other neighbors install a new roof on her home, LaFond-Evans said she was moved by their generosity, caring attitude and helpful spirit in responding to her family’s urgent needs.

“I’m very thankful they’ve been so generous in helping both my family and our organization,” LaFond-Evans said, referring to how the church has also donated to her Mito Hope + Help educational initiative, which she launched after her daughter Randi died of the mitochondrial encephalomyopathy in 2010. Cathy and her other two children are also battling mitochondrial disease.

Dealing with the disorder has meant heavy financial stresses on the family.

The group of more than a dozen workers not only installed a new roof, but replaced flashing and re-routed a furnace flue that was causing the roof to leak. The work was accomplished over two days. Another 12 or so people prepared and provided food for the workers, and others donated materials and the use of construction equipment. Richard Ouellette spearheaded the effort.

Sister Linda Hogan of St. Cecilia’s initially decided the work should be undertaken — LaFond-Evans declined her offer, but Hogan won out.

Pausing from working on the roof on Saturday, Joe Davies, a new full-time resident of Thurman, said he was pleased to be part of the effort.

“It’s always community oriented up here,” he said of northern Warren County. “People are just great.”

Putting aside his tools for a moment, Bud York of Warrensburg said it was a matter of appropriate payback.

“Cathy is a really sweet woman and she’s always helping people — so it’s good to give back,” he said. “When people heard about this project, they jumped right on it.”

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