Mass. Community Helps Repair Single Mom's Dilapidated Home amid 'Ongoing Health Issues'

Jane Cunningham desperately needed a new roof for her home, which had water damage and mold problems

Sudbery family
Jane Cunningham with her three kids. Photo: GoFundMe

A Massachusetts community has rallied around a single mother of three whose dilapidated home was in desperate need of repairs as her family dealt with "ongoing health issues."

Jane Cunningham has been living inside the Sudbury residence with her three children, despite it being completely run-down and unsafe, CBS affiliate WBZ-TV reported.

Part of the reason she was unable to renovate the house was that her family had "been struggling with ongoing health issues," according to a GoFundMe page set up by her friend, Melinda Johnson.

Wanting to help, Johnson started the GoFundMe in hopes that the Sudbury community could financially assist Cunningham with home repairs and medical expenses.

That they did. In addition to the hundreds of people who have donated to the fundraiser, fellow Sudbury residents have stepped up and renovated the home for Cunningham — free of charge.

"Everything they did was life-changing," Cunningham told WBZ-TV. "I'm just blown away by the kindness and it really just changes our whole outlook on life and it changes the trajectory of our life as well."

Sudbery family
The Cunningham family's home. GoFundMe

Prior to the renovation, Cunningham said the house had several interior and exterior issues, including problems with mold.

"The entire roof was shot," she explained to WBZ-TV. "We basically had to board [the family room] off and couldn't use it because a piece of the ceiling had fallen down and in with that came a giant squirrels' nest, nuts and all."

According to the GoFundMe page, the home also was in "desperate need of a new roof and repair of extensive wood rot" after suffering water damage.

"Not only have they been dealing with water in the house, but also critters getting into the house too," Johnson pointed out on the fundraiser.

It was those unlivable conditions that prompted Dave Fenton, a fellow Sudbury resident who works as the Chief Operating Officer of Suffolk Construction Boston, to take action, WBZ-TV reported.

"It kind of just moved me. So I dug into it a little more and figured out that we should be helping," he explained to the outlet. "I knew we had to jump in and help right away."

Using business contacts and trade partners, Fenton was able to find people to fix the roof before gathering a number of other workers to help fix the rest of the home, according to WBZ-TV.

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"I knew there was more to do so I reached out to some other folks and some interior people, some demolition folks that we work with," Fenton explained to the outlet. "So we got inside and took care of the mold issue, took care of the drywall, a little bit of the electrical work and kind of got the place secured up for the wintertime."

When the weather warms up, Fenton added that his crews plan to fix the home's landscaping and paint the exterior.

Because the renovations were completed free of charge, Johnson said on the GoFundMe — which has raised over $22,000 — that the money will "go towards any roof-related repairs" with future donations going "towards other home expenses or towards medical debt that has piled up."

"All of this gives this family a new outlook on life and gives me great hope for humanity and a moment of brightness during this oftentimes bleak pandemic," Johnson added.

Those interested in supporting the Cunningham family can so do here.

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