Marikay McGarry prides herself on being the one to lend a helping hand, but has a hard time receiving help. When she found out she was selected to be a recipient of Habitat for Humanity Tucson’s A Brush With Kindness, she felt overwhelmed.
“I have a lot of guilt because I am a giver. I am not used to accepting help, so it’s been difficult for me,” she said. “But it’s something that I learned, just be grateful!”
Marikay has called her desert dwelling home for 18 years. Maintaining a clean and safe home was on top of Marikay’s priority list, but doing the home repairs herself was not something she was physically able to do. In the past, Marikay led a very active lifestyle that involved handiwork, but when she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 30, it slowly took over her health and limited her physically abilities. 11 surgeries later, Marikay knew she needed help.
With the help of local contractors, Marikay’s home received updates to her bathroom, railing installed around her outside deck and stairs, replacement of broken tiles, an upgraded water heater, and the replacement of her single pane windows to double pane. The final touch to her home was the exterior paint, which was done by fantastic volunteers from Aldea Church and UMC St. Marks. Not only did the St. Marks volunteers help paint the exterior of her home but a generous donation was also given by UMC St. Marks that will help benefit other homes to come.
Seeing so many volunteers spending their Saturday morning painting the exterior of her home deeply touched Marikay.
“I just don’t feel I deserve this! But at the same time, that’s just a matter of accepting that it’s okay to need help. And for strangers to help is even more bizarre! It gives me hope in today’s world.”
The home repairs Marikay received impacted not just the appearance of her home but benefited her health. Throughout the year Marikay will receive infusions to help alleviate her pain, which causes her immune system to be very delicate. Maintaining a clean home is essential for Marikay but was a hard task to do prior to the replacement of her single pane windows. Living off a dirt road with vehicles going by all day, sent a lot of dust in the direction of her home. Dusting every single day became a mandatory part of Marikay’s daily routine.
But since the installation of double pane windows, Marikay has noticed positive impacts.
“There is a 70% difference in the amount of dust!” she says. “It feels like a home now. It doesn’t feel like an inefficient, dirty house all the time!”
Double pane windows will not only have a positive impact on Marikay’s health but also on her electric bill, which she is excited to see the savings accumulate.
All Marikay wants is a safe and sufficient home she can relax in with her dog, and she is so grateful to have finally achieved this. “This house was becoming so stressful to me because there was so many issues wrong with it. Habitat for Humanity has come and fixed them for me! Its humbling, very humbling!”