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Community comes together to support a young South Boston resident

Posted by Patrick Rosso  May 14, 2013 12:25 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2013)


Sydni Pecevich and Mayor Thomas M. Menino with Pecevich's new ramp in the background.


A young South Boston girl now has a new lease on life after a community came together to make her home more accessible.

Sydni Pecevich, a brave eight-year-old who battled a malignant brain tumor and now suffers from cerebral palsy, joined Mayor Thomas M. Menino, members of the Iron Workers Local 7, employees with Suffolk Construction, and others at her family’s Marine Road home Tuesday to welcome the new additions.

“This is amazing,” said Cathy Jerome, Pecevich’s mother. “This really changed our lives.”

While the family was at Disney World in Florida, a new 75-foot wheelchair ramp was built on the side of their first-floor unit and a rear addition was constructed. The addition includes an expanded living room and kitchen, play space, and accessible bathroom.

Now Pecevich has more space to move around, exercise, and have fun with her two siblings.

“A little act of kindness in the city of Boston is what we are all about,” Menino said Tuesday morning, as he held Sydni’s hand out front her home.

Menino was a major force behind the project, pushing for approvals from the city's Zoning Board. But it was the local unions and construction companies, including the Feeney Brothers Excavation and Malatos Iron Works, that did the heavy lifting, all for free.

“It was a real cooperative effort by everyone,” said William Christopher, a local architect who help design the addition. “Once you met Sydni, once you met her family, it was easy to do it.”

The story may have a happy ending, but it could’ve been much different.

With Pecevich’s condition and a non-wheel chair accessible house, the family often had to carry Pecevich and her wheel chair to the school bus. They also didn't have the space in the house for much of her equipment.

Pecevich's mother, fed up with the home, began looking for a new apartment, but didn't want to leave the community or her neighbors.

“The biggest thing for us is being able to have her equipment in the house,” said Jerome, who came to the neighborhood in 1989. “Now she can play inside and there is space for her to play with her brother and sister.”

A number of individuals came together to make the project a reality, sacrificing their weekends, but they said it was a labor of love.

“I have kids myself and when I heard about this situation I felt obligated to help out,” said Chris Sponholtz, the foreman for the project and member of Local 7. “I’m blessed to have healthy kids and if I can contribute that’s a good thing.”

Although Pecevich is wheelchair bound and at times has a hard time communicating, she was visibly excited Tuesday to show off the new additions to her home, especially her new bedroom. And while she couldn’t say it, you could see in her eyes that she wanted to say “thank you.”

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(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2013)


Sydni Pecevich and Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined by those who contributed to the project.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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