TV show brightens lives

David SalvaireSound Telegraph
Parents Amber and Russell Bates with their kids Ethany, 12, Adison, 6, Imogen, 9 and Xavier, 11, in front of their new home.
Camera IconParents Amber and Russell Bates with their kids Ethany, 12, Adison, 6, Imogen, 9 and Xavier, 11, in front of their new home. Credit: David Salvaire

A long run of bad luck came to an end for the Bates family recently when a team of dedicated locals and a renovation reality show delivered them their dream home.

The Waikiki family of six had always planned to renovate their worn-down, 1950s beach shack but a series of medical downturns hit the family and the bills took over.

Parents Amber and Russell decided home schooling was best for their three youngest children, with son Adison born prematurely and battling cerebral palsy while Xavier and Imogen suffer from learning difficulties. In 2014, things took a turn for the worse when Russell was diagnosed with kidney cancer, which he battled through the Christmas period and well into 2015.

Despite doing it tough, Mrs Bates still managed to dedicate time to her charity, Tiny Sparks WA, which helps families experiencing high-risk pregnancies and babies born sick or premature.

Seeing the struggles the family were facing, two friends nominated the Bates for the Matt and Kim to the Rescue show.

For a year, they planned a major renovation in secret and when it was revealed, Russell and Amber said it was the shock of their lives.

“I was absolutely dumbfounded and it was like they were speaking another language,” Mr Bates said.

“I could hear what they were saying but I couldn’t comprehend the enormity of it.”

Mrs Bates said her reaction was more noticeable.

“I just burst into tears,” she said. “We’re very grateful, to say the least, and we found the whole thing refreshing because it reminded us that there are so many amazing and kind people out there.

“People took time off their regular jobs to come work on the house and we know it wasn’t easy work.”

More than 200 WA trades-people and about 70 companies joined forces with volunteers from the surrounding community to flip the house in four days, working through heavy rains.

While the family have been in the renovated house since November, they said they were still getting used to the new surroundings.

“We can’t thank everyone enough for this — it’s completely changed our lives,” Mrs Bates said.

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