Dreams of independence for her child opens oportunities for othe

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    SUSSEX COUNTY-For the past two years, Evelyn Dudziec, founder and director of Katie's House Inc., has been working to raise money to purchase the group's first assisted living facility for her daughter Katie and two other young adults with developmental delays in the Sussex County area. Many believe that with Dudziec's determination and commitment to helping others like her daughter, Katie's House may be on its way to become a reality.  "We think we may have found a small, three-bedroom house but it's in very poor condition. If the sale goes through, my estimate is that it will take another three years to open," said Dudziec. "It needs so much work and the funds are not available to us yet. We need more time to fundraise and to do the work that needs to be done to make it livable." Katie's House Inc. is a non-profit corporation which has been created with the purpose of providing assisted living facilities for young adults with developmental disabilities.  For Dudziec, Katie's House is an extension of her life-long work. She is the founder and director of Heal the Children. For the past 24 years, she has helped more than 25,000 children from around the world by providing them with medical care and services. She has even opened her own home to the families of the children in need while they are receiving their medical care. It was through Heal the Children that the Dudziecs found Katie.    The Dudziecs adopted Katie 15 years ago. She was born in a tiny village in Mexico and because of her complications, she was not given a chance to survive her first six weeks of life. Through Heal the Children Dudziec rescued her from an almost certain death. After coming to the United States, Katie spent her first few years of life in and out of hospitals. At first, the doctors believed that Katie would not live to her first birthday. If she did, they said she would never be able to walk nor eat by mouth in addition to being severely developmentally delayed.  When Katie turned 3, her natural parents were forced with the decision of putting her up for adoption as they realized she would not survive in the environment from which she had come. It was at this time, that Evelyn and her husband, Conrad, adopted Katie. Her medical condition gradually progressed and soon proved many of the doctors wrong.  By the age of 5, she was able to eat normally and was not only able to walk, but run. The Dudziecs' concern over Katie's well-being is constant. When the Dudziecs realized how vulnerable Katie still is at the age of 18, they decided to create a safe place for their now adult daughter and Katie's House was born.   "I would like Katie's House Inc. to become the vehicle for other families like us to purchase their own home for their adult children with developmental delays," explained Dudziec.