Julian Ross of Oswego, who accepted a van from Bob and Peg Natoli of Timebuyer last week, has another item on his bucket list that will soon be checked off.
Julian, a seven-year old boy with cancer, made a 12-item bucket list of dreams he wanted to see in his lifetime. On the top of that list was to have a house where his bedroom was on the second story. The problem is, the Ross family lives in a one-story home on County Route 20 in Oswego.
Julian has dreamed of having an upstairs bedroom since he was three, after visiting cousins who live in a two-story modular home. “At the time, he didn’t know houses came like that,” said his mother Kristi Ross. “He thought it felt like a tree house.”
The Ross family lives in a three-bedroom house with two baths, one of which is broken. Before getting sick, Julian shared a small room with his little brother, Brayden, and their older son had his own room.
Aside from needing his own space for medical reasons, Julian also wants a upstairs/downstairs house so that his teenage brother, Alex, can have his own room again. Currently, Alex is living with his grandparents in Mexico, where he attends high school.
The 26 x 26 addition will include two upstairs bedrooms, a handicap accessible bathroom, and a one car garage. The upstairs bedrooms will be separated by a half wall for Julian and Brayden.
The architects have included a slide that will run from Julian’s room to the downstairs. A room downstairs will serve as a recreation room where Julian can bond with his brothers.
“A one-car garage will allow Julian to stay safe from the elements,” his mother said. “He has gotten sick multiple times from being outside, walking in from the house in the cold and rain.”
The project began in October and is being spear headed by Jessica Hofschulte and Nancy Rynkiewicz of Marcellus. Hofschulte got to know the Ross family by including Julian in a summer carnival fund-raiser for both him and Sadie Wilson.
Hofschulpe, who tutors in the Oswego and Mexico school District for homebound kids, became Julian’s tutor.
Rynkiewicz became involved after she came across Julian’s story on Facebook on the fifth anniversary of her own son’s death to neuroblastoma. Rynkiewicz extended moral support to Kristi.
Together, Hofschulte and Rynkiewicz have been raising money for Operation Upstairs Downstairs house. Around $6,000 has been raised so far for the house project from a cumulation of events, including a Gertrude Hawk fund-raiser and an Oswego State walk and can drive.
A can drive is ongoing at Great Lakes Redemption Center at both Oswego locations, 181 Gardenier Road and next to Garafalo’s on the east side. Cans for Julian will be accepted at six cents a bottle or can.
According to Kristi, $5,500 has already been spent on the first floor. Hofschulte says that the project is estimated at $70,000 for materials alone, but could be more after delivery costs and renting machinery.