More than 10,000 Days without a Vacation

For over 30 years, Sue Spece has been starting every day early, and ending each night late. She's been the primary (and usually the only) caregiver for her three children, all of whom have a form of muscular dystrophy that keeps them in motorized wheelchairs.

So what has Sue Spece accomplished in all that time without so much as a single day to take care of only herself? All three kids have college degrees and run their own businesses - Josh is a hosta expert, Jacob works with dairy cattle and Jackie runs, of all things, a dance studio. As the kids got older, Sue's days got longer. Digging hostas, hauling plants for trade shows, waiting on customers, and watering plants daily for the garden business she co-owns with Josh. Replacing floors, painting walls, registering dancers, and coordinating dance shows for Jackie's dance studio. Hauling feed, cleaning the barn, wrangling dairy calves, and cleaning Jacob's wheelchair at the end of the day.

Sue rarely sits down and has sacrificed every day off she might have had to make sure her kids can follow their dreams.

She lifts the kids into their wheelchairs at the beginning of each day and struggles to lift them back into bed at night. She bathes, dresses and feeds the boys and helps Jackie get ready for her day. Her home has no lift system, the halls are too narrow for the wheelchairs and there's not even a garage to keep the kids out of the rain and snow. She's done more than her share of carrying in 30 years, and her back and knees are paying the price.

And yet who is the first to offer help if a friend or neighbor needs it? Sue, of course.

Knowing how hard Sue works and how she struggles financially, friends nominated her for Extreme Makeover:Home Edition. When another deserving Iowa family was chosen, friends and neighbors stepped up again to form Building a Dream in the Country, a project dedicated to raising funds for a home to fit the Spece family's needs. Plans include wide doorways, open spaces, a ceiling-mounted lift system, a breezeway with a tornado room and wheelchair tire washing area, and a garage to keep them out of the rain and snow.

With the help of many individuals, groups and organizations Building a Dream has raised $139,000 towards their $200,000 goal. The home won't be as extravagant as Extreme Makeover's. Low maintenance and easy to care for is the main goal as Sue's days are busy enough. Building a Dream is working hard to hit that $200,000 mark so Sue and her kids can be in a comfortable, warm, accessible home before another Iowa winter hits.

Please donate to help Sue continue caring for her kids at home.


Information about the Spece family and Building a Dream. Building a Dream in The Country or Building a Dream in The Country on Facebook

Please contact any of the following Building a Dream in the Country committee members if you have questions or would like information.

Kathy Finholt: 319-334-6256

Deb Curry: 319-334-7390

Kathy Holt: 319-334-2080

Cindy Bandy: 319-230-8582

You can also email