Wide Plank Floor Supply was incredibly fortunate to be involved in a project to help a family experiencing hardship by coordinating the installation of beautiful new wide plank floors.
Things were turned upside-down when the Walsh family’s little boy Kieran was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor, stage two cancer in November of 2016.
Shortly after the diagnosis, the family went to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 48 hours after arriving, the tumor had been removed. Kieran then began 19 weeks of chemotherapy, which he responded well to. During his 6-month scans, they found that the tumor had metastasized to his lungs, which had not been detected in his August scans. Kieran underwent immediate surgery to remove the tumor from his lungs. He then underwent 27 weeks of hard chemo along with eight rounds of radiation at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Rebecca and Kevin Walsh had always wanted hardwood floors throughout the house, but following Kieran’s diagnosis and his ongoing lung radiation, there was more urgency surrounding the replacement of the carpet with hardwood floors. The family decided to prevent further problems with Kieran’s lungs by switching from carpet to hardwood, so after doing some research they took a trip to our Wide Plank Floor Supply showroom in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Rebecca says that although the flooring project wasn’t in their budget, she and Kevin felt like it was important to do in order take care of the health of their family. They decided they would put the cost of the project on credit cards and worry about paying it off later.
“If cancer has taught us one thing, it’s living in the moment,” Rebecca says.
The Walsh family’s experience with Wide Plank Floor Supply
Kevin, Rebecca, and three of their four children, including Kieran, traveled to the Wide Plank Floor Supply showroom, where they met with Wide Plank Floor Supply Sales Rep Fred Beach, who took them on a tour so they could see all of the options available to them.
While touring the showroom, Kevin and Rebecca were immediately drawn to live sawn white oak flooring. They also saw a test panel that had been finished with Bona Craft Oil. This panel in particular appealed to Rebecca––she appreciated the fact that the Craft Oil enhanced the natural look of the floors rather than covering up its character.
While helping the Walshes select their flooring, Fred asked about Kieran’s story. Fred was in a unique position to understand the emotional strain that the Walsh family was experiencing. Fred’s 21 year-old granddaughter had experienced the same illness as Kieran when she was a child.
The Walsh family ultimately settled on live sawn white oak because they appreciated the burls in the wood, along with the Bona Craft Oil Clay finish to add color to the floor. The Craft Oil also enhanced the wood’s natural character and provided a durable finish. The Walsh family has four children, so they needed a finish that could stand up to a significant amount of foot traffic.
“Fred is the most knowledgeable person we have ever met when it came to floors. He talked us through every step, he talked us through every decision, he talked us through whatever would be the right choice for our family,” says Rebecca.
Fred was touched by Kieran’s story and decided to reach out to the head instructor at the Carpenters Joiners Apprentice Program, which is an offshoot of the Carpenter’s Union of Philadelphia, to see if they could help out with the installation of the floors. Wide Plank Floor Supply provided a discount on the wood, while the apprentices graciously decided to donate their labor to the Walsh family’s project. Frank Dove of Dovelin Enterprises also donated his time to help buff and coat the floors on the final day of the project. This is the same group which had helped out with our PAL gym floor makeover project in Strawberry Mansion.
Rebecca says that the carpenter’s union apprentices were friendly and professional from day one and never gave them the impression that the children were in the way. “They really seemed to be invested in the project and invested in our family,” Rebecca says. “We were so appreciative of Ron and Fred bringing them out.”
The end result
The floor is beautiful 9” live sawn engineered white oak. The choice of engineered flooring was made because, as Fred explained to the Walsh family, the engineered floors would reduce the amount of expansion and contraction that the planks would experience, which is especially important for an active family with four children and two large dogs. Any gaps created from the seasonal expansion and contraction of the planks would quickly gather dirt.
The installation was a glue-down job, the best kind of installation for an engineered floor with that kind of width. The installers chose to use an eco-friendly, non-caustic adhesive product from Bona (Bona R851), which is a low-VOC adhesive to keep irritants out of the house and ensure that the installation would not irritate Kieran’s lungs.
Bona Craft Oil is also a low-VOC product. This is a European oil product with a matte finish which accentuates, rather than covers up, the character of the wood and truly brings out the beauty of the grain. The Craft Oil was an especially great choice for this live sawn white oak floor because the burls, grain, and rustic character of the wood drew the Walsh family to the species in the first place. The adhesive and Craft Oil were both graciously donated by Bona Kemi.
Moving forward with their new floors
It meant a lot to Fred to be involved with the project. He views the project as a way to give the family
“When you see a family that is being challenged like they are, it’s very calming to know at the end of the day that little Kieran is going to be able to slide across the floor,” says Fred. Kieran is a remarkable young man with a kind heart heart who has already been through so much. He had two wishes, which members of the community came together to grant for Kieran.
For his first wish, Kieran wanted a baby goat. The Walsh family now has four baby Nigerian dwarf goats who have very much become part of the family: Louie, Surf, Tootsie, and Cookie. For his second wish, Kieran wanted to fly a drone. He was able to do so after someone from the community got Kieran a drone pilot’s license.
Kieran’s latest scans revealed that he is cancer free! Rebecca says he is doing well and is very happy! Kieran loves his new floors, and he and his siblings love to pretend that they’re ice skating by sliding around in their socks.
The Wide Plank Floor Supply team was so elated to be involved in this inspiring project, and we are so grateful that the Walsh family is excited about their new floors.
Special thanks to the Carpenters Joint Apprentice Program, Bona Kemi, and Dovelin Enterprises for helping to make this project a reality. For more information on the products that the Walshes selected for their floors, click the links below:
For more information about Kieran’s journey, visit the Team Walsh Facebook page where the family posts updates.