Minot family still grateful to “Extreme Makeover”

Four years ago, I covered the Minot “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.” So, with all of the excitement in Moorhead, I decided to check in with the Bliven family in Minot to see how things are going for them and what advice they have for the Grommesh family……………

BISMARCK—The Minot family chosen for “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” four years ago is going to Moorhead to pay it forward.

Bill and Michelle Bliven and their son Aaron will arrive Thursday afternoon to help with the home makeover for the Bill and Adair Grommesh family.

“We’ve been so fortunate having everyone help us that we feel we want to be down there trying to support the Grommesh family and what they do,” Michelle Bliven said.

The family also heard what a great time people had working on their home and wants to be part of the excitement of what it’s like to be on the other side of a build, she said.

Aaron’s 19th birthday is Friday, and he can hardly wait to spend it with “Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” Michelle Bliven said.

“We’re hoping to see Ty and the gang,” she said. “We haven’t had contact with any of them since our makeover, so it would be fun to talk to them and see them a little bit. I’ve been getting some pictures and things ready to bring down there.”

The Bliven family – which includes daughter Kristen and son Taylor – was selected for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” after the ABC show learned of the struggles in their old home to accommodate Aaron, who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair.

Michelle Bliven’s dedication to kids with special needs also played a role in the family’s selection.

When Aaron was told he could no longer play youth league baseball, his mother started the Dream Catchers baseball team for kids with special needs. The “Extreme Makeover” crew also renovated the team’s ball field. The team now has 54 players, Michelle Bliven said.

Fargo’s Heritage Homes and more than 4,000 volunteers helped create the Bliven home, which continues to help the family.

It’s so much easier to take care of Aaron with the wide hallways, the seizure alarm system on his bed and the lift system in the bathroom, Michelle Bliven said. Bill also loves working in the yard, she said.

She recalled how emotional and overwhelming the “reveal day” was and said the Grommesh family will be busy when they return from vacation.

“Just getting used to the light switches and where the cups and glasses and all of those things are at,” Michelle Bliven said. “I remember that was pretty funny for us. We had to hit all the switches until we got the one we wanted.”

The Grommesh family should also expect plenty of calls and e-mails, she said. The Blivens received more than 200 from around the world after people heard their story.

Trying to thank the thousands of people who showed their support also kept the family busy, Michelle Bliven said.

Kristen and Taylor aren’t able to go to Moorhead due to school obligations, but the family has been keeping up with the Moorhead build on the Internet, Michelle Bliven said.

She said she still wakes up every morning and thinks how blessed her family is to have their new home. She’s looking forward to arriving in Moorhead.

“It’s an exciting time for the whole area and the state,” she said. “One thing that we did hear is how much the show loved the people from North Dakota. They really were impressed and that says a lot.”