01 Apr George to the Rescue: MRC x EMD Giveback
Ellie and Mike love giving back to their local New Jersey community. They have deep routes in Westfield and the surrounding towns.
So when George Oliphant of NBC’s “George to the Rescue,” a home improvement series with heart, had another opportunity for them to volunteer to help a local family, they didn’t hesitate.
“George to the Rescue” came to the Shah family’s Iselin home in February 2018. Diagnosed at birth with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, otherwise known as Brittle Bone disease, the son, Sparsh Shah, was struggling with the home’s limitations.
Sparsh is a singing prodigy and motivational speaker. While his physical abilities are limited, his inspirational reach is without border; his musical and motivational videos on social media have about 150 million views.
“There were a lot of challenges in the house in terms of accessibility,” Sparsh’s father, Hiren Shah, said. “We had a ramp which was not ADA-compliant, and Sparsh had a skull fracture once when he slipped in the wintertime on the ramp outside the house. And our house is two levels, and our bathroom is such that there was no accessibility. He had broken his leg at least four or five times while we were lifting him to the bath chair right inside the tub. They saw this and said, ‘We would like to do something for Sparsh and put us on the show.”
“George to the Rescue” came to Sparsh’s Iselin home in February 2018, adding a recording studio as well as creating an accessible bathroom for the musician/influencer. Airing April 6, Shah’s episode, which premiered April 14, 2018, was recently nominated for a New York Emmy in the “Human Interest: Program/Special” category.
Oliphant was truly touched by Sparsh’s amazing outlook. He noted, “I can’t make his bones be stronger or make him walk, but I can make his bathroom bigger and I can give him a space to do what he loves to do — the guy loves music and communicating and getting out there.”
Shah called it “life-changing,” especially for his son. Previously, accessing a recording studio and producers were not only expensive and difficult to find in terms of availability, but tricky as “accessibility was always a problem.”
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” Sparsh said. “And I guess you could say that George is the father. He brought the music studio to my house and now that I have that I am excited to say I can record my own stuff and am learning to produce — I have all these tools to produce now. I can make music now. I don’t need help. I can literally be a self-sufficient artist. And I don’t need any help doing my morning routine in the bathroom now — that’s really nice. It really is a gift.”
“Just being at home, now Sparsh can be anywhere in the world,” his father added. “He can do everything. And he can brush his teeth and use the bathroom on his own — it has given him a lot of independence. They also leveled the house — he used to not be able to go into the sunroom — so Sparsh with his power wheelchair, he can go anywhere in the house on his own.”
Michael Robert Construction was the general contractor for the project, and Ellie Mroz Design, the interior designer. Their teams happily donated countless hours to bring the project to fruition.
George to the Rescue” airs on NBC 4 New York. Episodes are available at Youtube.com via the “George To The Rescue” channel, on Facebook at facebook.com/george2rescue, Twitter at @George2Rescue and @GeorgeOliphant. For more information, go to GeorgetotheRescue.com.
For more information or to follow Sparsh on social media, go to www.YouTube.com/SparshPurhythm, facebook.com/purhythm, www.twitter.com/SparshPurhythm, www.instagram.com/ShahSparsh and www.linkedin.com/in/ShahSparsh.
Content excerpts from “My Central New Jersey” article by Staff Writer Cheryl Makin, March 27, 2019