How It Started
In November of 2007 John Kaiser, our Founder, announced to a group of friends that he wanted to fulfill a dream of helping families of children who were stricken with a devastating illness or have been in a debilitating accident. John had seen what had happened to two of the families in his neighborhood who had suffered through this type of devastation.
One child was a 12-year old girl with two extremely rare diseases that ravaged her body and took her to death’s door more than once. From an initial concern that Lauren had flu like symptoms to an emergency helicopter trip to UNC Children’s Hospital 12 hours later, the situation had become life and death. All the vital organs were shutting down and a kidney transplant was her only hope. When she returned home, months later, her room was transformed from a cute little girls room to a quasi hospital room complete with dialysis machine and two frightened parents who had to operate it to keep her alive.
Another child, a 17-year old boy had only been driving for a few months when a tragedy struck. Something fell on the floor and John took his eyes off the road for only seconds. The wheel turned ever so slightly but it was enough to hit the curb and throw his small car into a head on collision with a large SUV. His life and the life of his family were turned upside down in a moment. Months later when John returned home there was no going back to the way things were for now there was a new reality.
The unthinkable was now reality for these families and for many families as they try and cope with a whole new set of challenges. As an Interior Designer and not a healthcare provider John Kaiser knew that he could not heal the wounds but maybe, just maybe he could help make the situation better. Inspired by the very popular TV show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, John founded Welcome Home Angel.
Today Welcome Home Angel, Inc. has brought joy and comfort to over 60 children and their families across southeastern NC in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties, by renovating bedrooms, bathrooms, and other living spaces within the homes of chronically ill or injured children. Renovations allow for a safer, happier place in which these children can focus on healing, rather than their obstacles.
In 2021, after several years of planning, the organization announced its vision to expand nationally, beginning a new chapter in Chicago. Led by HGTV Design Star, Meg Caswell, the Board felt, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, WHA’s mission was more important now more than ever to give this gift to other communities.