Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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January 9, 2010

Cowan-Brown family adjusts since ‘Makeover’

Heather and Andy Cowan dreaded the thought of their lives being on the rocks as much as the families on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

“I remember four or five years ago, Andy said, ‘Man, I hope we don’t ever get to this point where we’re eligible for this show,’” Heather Cowan said with a laugh in November.

Although some gallows humor left the family joking several years ago about how they never wanted to appear on the show or need a new home that much, their turn to appear on the ABC-TV reality show begins at 8 p.m. today.

Show star Ty Pennington greeted the family with his trademark bullhorn the morning of Oct. 21 at their home on South 100 West in rural Miami County.

The Cowans and their four children — Kori Brown, 12, Ryan Brown, 16, Trevor Brown, 13, and Mason Cowan, then 8 — emerged from their mold-ridden house as film crews surrounded them, taping them as Pennington told them they would receive a new home at no immediate cost.

The family was whisked off to Disneyland as the show’s cast and crews and hundreds of volunteers demolished the former barn the family lived in for the better part of a decade.

The next day, the volunteers, led by Anderson-based general contractor Hallmark Homes Inc., started the 106-hour clock to build a new home.

A week later, the family moved into a 3,000-square-foot-plus, custom home with new appliances, new furniture and, as Heather Cowan frequently calls it, a “new normal.”

The Fight Against Cancer and Mold

The show’s producers chose the family largely because of Kori, who has primary immune deficiency disease, a congenital blood disorder, which has required frequent hospital visits and surgeries, leaving the family struggling with finances.

During her routine visits to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Kori befriended Alyssa Lewandowski, who was undergoing leukemia treatment at that time.

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