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Family asks help to keep their son close to home

May 16, 2023

Kassie, Arell Junior and Senior and sisters Karissa and Sophie.
A family-owned business in Spokane Valley that provides around-the-clock care for five medically fragile children is seeking help after a plumbing leak leak and a fire, and a Bonners Ferry family with one of those children is asking the Bonners Ferry Community to help enable their son to continue to live relatively close to home.

Arell Clemons Jr., the son of Arell Sr. and Kassie Clemons, was diagnosed 20 weeks into his mother's pregnancy with hyperplastic left heart syndrome, a condition in which the left side of his heart did not form. The family was told the child was not likely to survive, but miraculously, he did.

After his birth, he underwent three open heart surgeries, and later surgeries to repair a collapsed diaphragm and other serious problems.

When Junior was six months old, he was able to leave the hospital, but due to the lack of advanced home nursing care in Bonners Ferry, coming home was not an option.

The Bodgen House had an opening, and Arell Jr. has lived there since.

"The Bodgen house is important to me and my family and so many other families the nurses take absolutely wonderful care of the kids that are there," said Arell Sr., who has lived in Bonners Ferry 32 years. "Without the Bodgen House, all the kids would have to be in a specialized home in Boise. They are truly a one-of-a-kind home that specialize in special needs medically fragile children."

The leak flooded the Bodgen House basement April 28, and equipment brought in by the restoration company overloaded the electrical system, causing the fire. Fortunately, staff got all five children out safely, but the burden of a $5,000 insurance deductible as well as nightly hotel fees while repairs were made has been a burden Bodgen House is struggling to cope with.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help.

"Please consider donating to help our special babies get back home as soon as possible!" owners wrote. "We also appreciate prayers for continued health and safety of our clients and staff."

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

A 9B Media LLC publication
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