Warwick resident Anya Martira is working to help give a unique gift to a local preschool attended by the son of a recently deceased friend but needs the community’s help to figure out how.
Last January, Martira purchased the home on Yucatan Drive that was made over by the popular television show “Extreme Home Makeover” a few years ago. In her backyard is a one-of-a-kind two-story tree house.
“When they did it for the show, it was $30,000 to get this thing,” said Martira about the structure, which has a large artificial tree trunk holding it up and needed a crane to be lifted into the yard. “I’ve had some people take a look and say it has to be taken out with a crane.”
While a great toy for children, Martira says her 11- and 13-year-olds have little use for it. So a few weeks ago, she put a message out on Facebook letting her friends know if they were willing to figure out how to get the tree house out of her yard, they could have it.
That was when Martira was contacted by Michelle St. Denis, a friend of a friend and owner of Totally Kids daycare in Warwick. She said she was interested in getting the tree house for her preschool.
“I’d rather it go to a daycare where kids would be able to use it for years to come and never grow out of it,” said Martira.
St. Denis and Martira began to speak with different crane companies to find out how to get the tree house out of the backyard and over to the preschool, located near Warwick Mall.
Around the same time she made the promise to give the tree house to Totally Kids, Martira’s friend Lori Ribeiro was very sick. She had been battling breast cancer and was told the cancer spread into her spinal fluid; she was not given much longer to live.
Friends and family rallied to hold a fundraiser for the Ribeiro family about three weeks ago. When Martira attended, she was surprised to see St. Denis and others from the preschool there. It turns about Ribeiro’s three-year-old son Logan attends Totally Kids.
“Once I found that out, I wanted it [the tree house] even more to go to them,” said Martira.
Only two weeks after her latest diagnosis, Riberio passed away on May 13. Martira visited Riberio on her final night in hospice to tell her that the wonderful tree house from her yard would be given to the day care where her son could play on it.
“I couldn’t imagine knowing that I had to leave my child and husband behind and wanted to give her any reassurance that we were all watching over them,” said Martira.
A few days later, Martira heard from St. Denis that the crane companies she reached out to were unable to help, partially due to the cost of the project. Not wanting to go back on her promise to her friend, Martira reached out to a friend who works for a different crane company and found out the cost to use the crane for just one day is $2,500, not including the cost of the actual removal.
“We kind of keep hitting roadblocks,” said Martira. “Basically, we’re at a standstill with what to do with this.”
Martira is now looking to either fundraise to cover the cost of the project or find a company willing to do the work for less cost. She wants to stay true to the promise she gave Riberio.
“My goal is to get it there. I just don’t know how to do that,” said Martira.
With any fundraising ideas or suggestions, contact Martira at email@example.com.