Woodhouse, the Timber Frame Company ™, has teamed up with the Dream Factory of Central New York to build a treehouse and make a girl’s dream come true in Trumansburg.
Isla Landon, age 7 was born with Oculofaciocardiodental Syndrome, a rare condition that causes congenital cataracts and glaucoma, which has led to blindness in her one eye, loss of peripheral vision or depth perception in her other eye, and other symptoms.
Since birth, Isla has had more than fifty surgeries and is expected to have many more. Isla has been through a lot, but is a very strong kid.
“She is a trooper. A lot of people don’t know that she has one eye with limited vision. And honestly, I’m not surprised… my wife and I are very big on her not using her disability as a crutch,” Jim Landon, Isla’s father, said.
“She is into gymnastics and she can do a handstand against the wall. This is a kid who has had every physical therapy under the sun as a child… we have an inside joke with Isla where, when she is doing some crazy thing, she says, ‘See me do this? No big deal.’”
This year, the Landon family reached out to the Dream Factory of Central New York and asked them to help make a dream of Isla’s come true. Donna Berich and Lori Lupo, volunteers at the Dream Factory, were assigned as Project Leaders and wet to meet with the family to learn about Isla’s dream.
“I went to meet with the family expecting that I would be planning a trip to Disney or something. When I asked Isla what she wanted, she exclaimed, ‘I want a treehouse!’ Then, her dream grew from a simple treehouse with a ball pit to an elaborate structure with a zip line and slides leading to a pool,” Donna explained.
Donna didn’t know where to start. “I called around to different places without any luck. I was so disappointed because I thought that I was going to have to go back to Isla and tell her I couldn’t grant her this dream because it was way over my budget,” she continued. “Then I remembered my friend, Pat Seaman, and thought that maybe he could help me out! I called Pat while he was on vacation with his family and his wife, Tracey Seaman, called me back and said, “Yes, we would love to do it! Can I make the curtains?”
Pat Seaman, the owner of Woodhouse, contacted other vendors in the area and put the dream into action.
“When Donna asked us to help, the whole Woodhouse team became excited about making Isla’s dream come true – and her smile during the construction phase has made every second of our efforts worthwhile,” said Pat.
Other companies involved were Jim Proctor of P&S Excavating, who augured the holes for the foundation and moved equipment for the builders; Peter Wright of Mainstay Builders laid out the sonitubes and mixed and poured the concrete; John Holt of Holt Brothers Construction completed the carpentry work to enclose and finish the treehouses; and Sean Morris at Scenic Landscaping removed rocks, raked the areas, planted grass seed, and spread straw to finish the project.
Since Isla could potentially lose sight in her other eye any day, building the treehouse has been a very time-sensitive project.
“Every day is something different with her. The doctors can’t do much more. She only has one surgery left, and, if that doesn’t work, she will be blind,” Jim Landon explained. The Dream Factory and Woodhouse made sure to move quickly to ensure that Isla would be able to see the treehouse when it was completed.
Pat and his architect, Ray Lefebvre, met with Isla and the family to design the treehouse. They drafted a design that included two treehouses connected by a zip line.
“Pat came around a couple of weeks later to show us a blue print of the treehouse design in color with the trees and everything. Then we got to see a virtual tour of the treehouse on the computer screen. Isla was really excited and taped the picture on her bedroom wall,” Jim Landon continued.
“To see how excited Isla is about the treehouse has been amazing. Pat and his guys have been great since the day was started working with them. The Dream Factory has been awesome as well – the relationship they created with Isla is pretty amazing. We feel very fortunate that this can be done for her,” he concluded.