After losing a quarter of her brain from five major brain aneurysms, Audrey Gibbs of West Union, Iowa, is now legally blind.
This has not stopped Gibbs from raising her six children, and every day she fights to stay alive. Her husband John passed away in 2000 from cancer. Gibbs was a cosmetologist and after learning that she would be going blind, she studied to become a massage therapist. She knew this was a career she could still practice after losing her sight.
Gibbs’ three oldest sons are devoted to their younger siblings and have pledged to take care of them. This would be great if they didn’t have to live in a broken-down old farmhouse that is on the verge of collapsing.
Gibbs owns a farm, but for additional income she loans part of it to local farmers. Her son Josh, 22, is the oldest of her children and moved to Arizona to attend the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute.
Josh works for a factory and is saving up for the tools he needs to become a skilled Harley Davidson technician. He and his younger brother Nathan are living in a rent-to-own home, but they plan on moving home should his mother pass away. Nathan, 19, works for a farmer in Arizona.
Thomas, 17, who just recently graduated from high school would love to attend college, but there are no funds for him to do so. He is currently working on his grandfather’s dairy farm.
Jessica, 16, is still in high school. She enjoys reading, shopping, fishing, tubing and camping.
Nicole, 14, helps her peers with how to cope with a death of a parent. Nicole is in junior high and enjoys tubing, swimming, tennis, clothes and make-up.
The youngest of the six children is Daniel, 12, and he is in sixth grade. He enjoys fishing, camping, boating and gardening.
The Gibbs family was fortunate enough to have Ty Pennington and the rest of the crew from “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” knock on its door. Being chosen for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is a long process with many interviews and paper work. An older lady from the Gibbs’ family church was the one who contacted the show. The community is helping out tremendously with this project.
Audrey’s cousin, Josie Springman, said there were so many volunteers that it was a struggle to add her name to the list.
“There are no free slots to help even,” Springman said. “I tried signing up two weeks ago and it was full. So luckily I went over (on Monday) and got in. It is so great, and people are donating food and money.”
Harley Davidson of Waukon, Iowa, will host a bike ride this Saturday to help raise money to pay off Audrey Gibbs’ medical bills. A church from Cedar Falls, Iowa, donated lunch to everyone who was helping on Monday..
“The more fundraisers and donations we have, the better,” Springman said. Audrey is only completely blind in one eye and can see some things out of her other eye. She went blind after she had her first aneurysm.
Many businesses from the surrounding area are helping out in any way possible. The main contributors for the project are Ed and Janet Larson, from Larson Construction of Independence, Iowa.
Other businesses include West Union Trenching, Super Lawn Care, Gage and Gage Plumbing and Heating, Shawver Well Company and many more. Ness Pumping Service and Porta-Potty Rentals of Waukon donated portable toilets for the week of construction.