Ten-year-old North Florida boy suffering from leukemia gets a brand-new bedroom thanks to Labor Finders and other local business donations

March 13, 2008 // Franchising.com // March —When the employees at the Lake City Labor Finders office learned in October about 10-year-old Andrew Holmes's struggle with leukemia, they knew they had to help. Several months of donated materials and volunteer weekend construction later, this labor of love came to fruition on none other than Valentine's Day, when Andrew's room was officially dedicated.

What was once the carport of the Holmes family home is now a clean, new bedroom fully decked out in Florida Gator orange and blue and equipped with a HEPA filter. Andrew, a diehard Gator fan, now has a clean environment in which to relax while undergoing chemotherapy.

"It has been truly heartwarming to see the outpouring of support from Labor Finders and the rest of the community," said Dave Holmes, Andrew's father and a trucker and Army veteran. "My family is so grateful for the selflessness of everyone involved in helping my son to have his new room. It is literally a dream come true."

Branch manager Gary Sweat had heard about Andrew in the local media, but wasn't fully aware of his situation until he received a call from Labor Finders International, the franchisor of the local office, several months ago.

Dan Shube – director of marketing at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based Labor Finders International and a former coworker of Andrew's uncle, Mark Holmes – told Sweat about Andrew's need for his own room at his Lake City home to aid in his recovery process. Sweat and Tony Giudicy, vice president of Jiudicy, Inc., the Tampa-based company that operates the Lake City branch, jumped at the chance to use their local business ties and connections to the building industry to help a member of the community so greatly in need.

"I'd heard about Andrew's situation in the local media, so when we got the call to see if we'd be interested in helping, I couldn't say 'yes' fast enough – and luckily, neither could some of the contractors and vendors I work with," Sweat said. One of the first local businesses to jump on board was Sandlin Frame and Finish.

Andrew was first diagnosed with leukemia at the age of three, and is currently suffering from a relapse of the cancer which reappeared in May of this year. Andrew is sharing a bedroom with his two brothers while he undergoes aggressive chemotherapy, an unfavorable situation as he is highly susceptible to illness due to his weakened immune system. The family has wanted to build a room addition to the house to assist his recovery process, but has thus far been unable to due to the financial strain associated with treating their son's illness.

"Andrew is in for a long, aggressive treatment period and the challenges are just unimaginable," Dave Holmes said. "We're trying to save our son's life and this is definitely a major help to Andrew and our family."

"It's been truly heartwarming to be able to use our resources along with those of other companies to help Andrew," Sweat said. "Part of the Labor Finders mission is to improve the lives of members of the community, and with this project, we were certainly able to do that."

Visit www.andrewholmesrecoveryfund.org
to find out more about Andrew Holmes. For more information, contact Sarah Christy, public relations manager, at sarah.christy@laborfinders.com.

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