Susan Weliver has been fighting since she was nine months old.
As a baby she was diagnosed with type one diabetes and has faced health complications ever since. At age 25 she had her eyes removed due to severe diabetic retinopathy, leaving her blind.
Weliver has lived, primarily, on her own since then — aside from the five guide dogs she had over the course of nearly 20 years, until she developed neuropathy from her diabetes that made it harder for her to walk.
On top of that, she also has developed a condition that does not allow her body to detox mold. She now lives in a Department of Housing and Urban Development house that is old and unfortunately full of mold. Flooding and other issues have caused her duplex to become unsafe for her to live in.
“She’s not adding days to her life, just living better. We don’t add days to our life but we do have some environmental things that affect the quality of our lives,” said Jeanie Stevens, Weliver’s long time friend.
That is why around Christmas this year Weliver will be moving into her own Habitat for Humanity house, her first ever home.
“I’m really thankful,” Weliver said. “I’m so excited to get there and meet neighbors.”
One of Weliver’s favorite things to do is give back to people. Last Thanksgiving she made dozens of meals to give to people as a drive-by holiday as many couldn’t celebrate with their families due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many Habitat for Humanity recipients, Weliver doesn’t get a lot of say in the design of the house. This cuts down on the time and expense of building a house. However, she was able to ask for a big front porch so she can have space to visit with friends and family.
Weliver is excited that her house is being built on Binford street, just around the corner from her church, Calvary Chapel.
When applying for a Habitat for Humanity house, Greg Lanam, vice president and construction coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, said there are three things a family must meet. Recipients have to have a financial need, qualify financially and then partner with Habitat for Humanity to give back to the community.
“She’s always given back to church and families and the community,” Lanam said. “And just the way she is around people, you know, always cheerful and she’s an amazing lady, she really is.”
However, when applying, Weliver had some stipulations of her own. If there was a family with children, she requested they get the house first, “Lord will take care of me. I may have a lot of difficulty, but children have to have a place to call home,” she said.
The second was the payments of the house had to fit inside her tight budget.
“So even though she is qualified, it will be a very tight budget, and we know a lot of people know and love Susan and want to see her in a healthy home,” Stevens said. “She takes care of what she has and would do a great job of being a neighbor and homeowner and so she deserves to get some help.”
To help Weliver in her new homeownership, people can donate community service hours to her required 250 “sweat hours” for Habitat. Monetary contributions can be made by a one-time donation at Calvary Chapel or to contribute to a benefit fund in her name at Hoosier Heartland State Bank.