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Stott family has suffered leukemia and house fire

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Hundreds of spectators rode shuttle buses from Freeport to watch the crews work on Sunday. Photo by Earleen Hinton

Philip and Joey Stott and their family were selected as an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition family following their nomination for the program by family friends.

The family, which includes Philip's two children, Kaila, 18, and Jonathon, 16, and Joey's son, Michael, 15, had dreamed of living in the country, raising animals and running a small organic farm.

After Philip and Joey were married in 2003, they bought a small farm that they named Spring View Acres close to Lena, Joey’s home town.

The farm included a barn, chicken coop, pig‐pen, other out‐buildings and a very old farmhouse with no insulation and 100‐year‐old wiring, all of which the family planned to update and improve over the coming years.

Three months after purchasing the farm, Joey got what they thought was the flu, but rather than recovering she became more ill.

She was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and was told the only cure was a bone marrow transplant from a matching donor.

Miraculously, an anonymous donor was found in October 2004.

Joey spent most of the next two years in the hospital, missing the first two springs on the farm and draining all of the family funds meant for fixing the farmhouse, improving the land, and setting up college funds for the kids.

Thankful to have recovered, Joey decided to change her own life and her family's for the better.

She went back to school at Highland Community College, Freeport,  in 2006 and graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average in 2009.

She was president of the honor society, vice president of the student senate and spent much of her limited free time tutoring disabled students on campus.

At her graduation this May, she was awarded the Citizenship Award, a prestigious award given to only one student each year to honor their service to the college and their community.

Joey has been accepted at the University of Wisconsin‐Platteville this fall, where she will finish her education by studying for her bachelor’s degree with plans to teach science.

Just before Joey graduated this spring disaster struck again.

While Philip was working a night shift, the floor in the 100‐year‐old farm house started to shake and Joey saw electrical outlets sparking and exploding.

She quickly got the children and ran to the barn from where they saw numerous explosions in their house.

They called the local fire department on a mobile phone.

The house was seriously damaged — walls were knocked down fighting the fire and much of the furniture was destroyed.

The Stotts have rescued a wide variety of animals that now live with them at Spring View Acres. They have 30 Shetland sheep, a breed that was almost endangered a few short years ago, to help maintain the grass.

They’ve also rescued three dogs from abused homes and have trained one as a therapy dog, taking him to local nursing homes for frequent visits.

An over‐ridden horse has also joined their family – Joey nursed him back to health and now rides him when volunteering as a mounted patrol officer in support of local police at community events.

They recently added chickens to the farm and enjoy having eggs to give to their neighbors.

Philip and Joey frequently sell produce grown organically at their farm at local farmers’ markets. They pride themselves on growing everything on their farm chemical‐free.

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