Dad With Parkinson's Receives Home Renovation Thanks to 3 Daughters - NBC New York
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Dad With Parkinson's Receives Home Renovation Thanks to 3 Daughters



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    Joe Honerkamp was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2012. George to the Rescue and George Oliphant teamed up with his 3 daughters to surprise him with a life-altering home transformation. (Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019)

    George Oliphant, host of home renovation show "George to the Rescue," received a letter from three sisters seeking help for their dad, whose Parkinson's diagnosis was making it difficult for him to live at home. 

    Their dad, Joe Honerkamp, was experiencing mobility issues and was unable to do many daily tasks on his own, his daughters said.

    He was forced to sleep in a hospital bed in the living room of his home in Rockville Centre, New York, as he could no longer get upstairs.

    "I think my dad has a really hard time being stuck in a little room all day. He doesn't get to get out very much. He's really disheartened by it," daughter Melanie said.

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    Honerkamp's three daughters give him a reason to keep going.

    "I have a disease, which at some point is going to incapacitate me totally, and the three of them come along in different ways and make me feel like I've got a future. And it's something that you can't quantify. It just wraps you around and makes you feel like there's hope for tomorrow." 

    Oliphant knows firsthand what the Honerkamp family is going through as his own dad is also battling the disease. 

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    "I can tell you it doesn't just affect the person with the disease. It's a crazy burden on any family and to be able to come in and give them some piece of mind, and give Joe some dignity and independence, that's really what it's all about," Oliphant said. 

    The "George to the Rescue" team decided to turn the family's enclosed first-floor porch into a bedroom and full bathroom, dramatically improving his quality of life.

    New furniture was provided, including a La-Z-Boy recliner with a remote control that helps Honerkamp get to a standing position.

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    The ensuite bathroom with walk-in shower makes it easy for Honerkamp to bathe himself. No more sponge baths from wife Cathy. 

    "I can already see him moving around the space with ease. It takes a weight off of us knowing he's safe here and he can actually be free here," daughter Lisa said.

    Oliphant received help from Howie Tarr, owner of Tarr’s Home Improvements Inc. for the construction; John Viscardi, of JMK Architectural Services P.C. for the design of the new living space; Liz Kohart for the interior design and the Parkinson's Foundation, whose volunteers chipped in. 

    The demo day took place in October of last year and the reveal day was held in the first week of November.

    The big reveal of the new space was made sweeter by a special video message from TODAY show host Willie Geist. Geist's father has been living with Parkinson's disease for 26 years. 

    Honerkamp is an entertainment industry veteran with over 40 years of experience working in television and radio at NBC.

    His Parkinson's diagnosis forced him to retire early. 

    In addition to the renovation, Oliphant arranged for Honerkamp and his family to return to the TODAY studio at Rockefeller Center in New York to see all of his old coworkers.