"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" family from Moorhead hunkers down amid health challenges

MOORHEAD - It was two years ago this week that the Grommesh family of Moorhead first set eyes on their new home, courtesy of the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" TV show.

Garrett Grommesh3
Garrett Grommesh was speechless but smiling after seeing his family's new home revealed as part of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in 2010. Garrett was born with spina bifida. Forum file photo

MOORHEAD - It was two years ago this week that the Grommesh family of Moorhead first set eyes on their new home, courtesy of the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" TV show.

The house was designed largely with Garrett Grommesh in mind. He was 10 when the family moved into their newly refurbished home near Eighth Street South.

Garrett was born with spina bifida, a disorder that left him paralyzed from the waist down and required a shunt to drain excess spinal fluid from his brain.

In the past two years, he has been through numerous surgeries and fought various ailments, including untethering of the spine.

Come November, he will face more spinal surgery, according to his mother, Adair.


"Quite honestly, I would go back to our junky old house if I could just get his health back," she said recently, just days after learning her son needed more surgery.

As the one in charge of updating her family's page on the CaringBridge website, Adair acknowledged fresh reports have been few and far between; a result, she said, of trying to relate a story that remains painful to tell.

"I don't do too many updates anymore. I hate to always be so negative," Adair said, adding that she is also hesitant to call attention to her family when she knows so many other families in the community have challenges of their own.

Her most recent CaringBridge update was posted Sept. 20.

It reads in part:

"Garrett is back at school full days. ... He tires easily and has stomach, back and head pain most of the time.

"He has few hours where he is feeling OK, but mostly times when he just feels like crap. I have been reading a lot about people who have had C. Diff. (a serious infection) like he has. Many have never fully recovered from the infection. They suffer chronic fatigue and really bad stomach pains. We don't know what else to do for him," she wrote.

The family has "kind of shut down from the outside world last year" for fear that Garrett could get another infection, she wrote.


Still, Adair is grateful for small victories, like the fact her son has already spent as much time in class this school year as he did all of last school year.

"We have to step back and be very thankful that he has made forward progress," Adair said.

"He is much better than a year ago. He may never get back to normal, but we can continue to hope and pray he will," she said, adding that her son's improvement has been good for his sister, Peighton, now a ninth-grader at Moorhead High School.

"It was a difficult last year for her, too," Adair said.

"There was a six-week stretch where she (Peighton) was here and I was in the Cities," Adair said, adding that the situation was tough on the entire household.

"Our family has been blessed," she said. "But, unfortunately, we've also been burdened."

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at
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