Welwyn Garden City family’s lives transformed by DIY SOS

PUBLISHED: 15:40 23 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:41 23 June 2017

The Koutrouza family after the big reveal in Welwyn Garden City.

The Koutrouza family after the big reveal in Welwyn Garden City.

Archant

A mother-of-four has told the Welwyn Hatfield Times how her health and family life have been transformed by a community building project that moved national television viewers to tears.

Viewers of DIY SOS on BBC One last week saw how volunteer local tradespeople built a specialist dialysis room for Sascha Koutrouza, who suffers from life-threatening kidney disease.

Sascha, now 37, said: “Since the build [finishing in September] I have not had one hospital admission in nine months.

“That is unheard of for me.

“We are very lucky to live in Welwyn Garden City. We can’t thank them enough.”

She watched the programme in the new dialysis room, while many of the tradespeople and suppliers enjoyed a special screening at Welwyn Garden City Cricket Club, raising money for Kidney Care UK.

Sascha, who works as a midwife, added: “It [the programme] was really nice. It moved us to yet more tears. It took us back to those [earlier] times, which were very, very difficult for us. It brought back painful memories.”

Not only does home dialysis substantially boost her life expectancy compared to hospital visits four times a week, but it allows her to spend much more time with her husband Andrew, and children Charlie, 20, Andreas, seven, Alex, five, and Alyssia, four.

They are now enjoying improved bedrooms, and the spectacularly remodelled garden, designed by Anthony Henn of the Dutch Nursery in Brookmans Park, and landscaped by Jamescape Ltd of Hertford.

Sascha said: “Our garden has had the biggest impact on people who have watched the show.

“For us, it is like being on holiday.”

The family have made firm friendships with many of the traders and suppliers, and Sascha said much important work had not been screened, such as spoil clearance by WGC firm BP Mitchell Ltd.

Some of the traders have since formed an informal group known as The Shifters, helping on various other charity building projects.

Although grateful for all the volunteer traders and suppliers, Sascha was anxious in particular to thank three firms that continued to help after the main build ended - Absolute Blinds of Welwyn Garden City, MARS Builders of Knebworth, and PJD Decorating of Stevenage.

She also paid tribute to her immediate neighbours. Tim and Zoe Rowley, who allowed access and tolerated considerable noise and disturbance.

Viewers from Welwyn Hatfield took to Facebook to say how they had been brought to tears throughout the broadcast, presented by Nick Knowles and featuring regular contributor Billy Byrne, a Welwyn Garden City electrician.

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