Back in 2012, Midwife Sascha Koutrouza came home to her house in Welwyn Garden City with a throat infection that changed everything for her and her husband Andrew Koutrouza, along with their children and extended family. Doctors believe the throat infection somehow caused her immune system to over-respond, leaving her with permanent kidney disease. She was reassured that it would be decades before she needed treatment, but sadly that this turned out not to be the case and Sascha’s symptoms grew rapidly. In just a 6 month period, Sascha unfortunately had final stage kidney disease requiring hospital dialysis at least four days a week. As a result this meant family weekends for Sascha were spent feeling sick and exhausted. She kept on going for the sake of her family – never complaining; but the Koutouza family were reaching breaking point and were all naturally concerned for her future. The main hope was home dialysis – but this was sadly dashed when she was informed that there wasn’t the space in her current home in the Kingsfield area of Welwyn Garden City for this to happen. The family simply could not afford the extension that was needed, which is where DIY SOS came in:
A single-storey extension would create the necessary space for the NHS to provide an ‘at-home’ (specific to Sascha’s type of kidney treatment) dialysis system for daily home treatment. Such a building would turn everything around for this family and mark a vital step in Sascha regaining her life.
After DIY SOS decided to help out, the BBC put out an appeal on Facebook from Nick Knowles for tradesmen and materials, and given Hazlemere Window Company Ltd have a retail showroom in Welwyn Garden City, Hazlemere decided they would supply and fit all the new and replacement windows and doors needed on the project. So for one whole week last year four of Hazlemere’s most experienced craftsmen gave up a week of their time to install new windows and doors. The Hazlemere team consisted of Senior Installer John Layton, Installation Manager Alan Layton, Operations Director Jason Bradshaw and Fitter Michal Kowalczyk.
These guys worked alongside DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles, as well as series regulars Mark Miller, Chris Frediani, Julian Perryman and Billy Byrne from 23rd August 2016 to 1st September 2016, The team from Hazlemere Window Company worked their socks off throughout the entire Big Build week, fitting new windows and doors.
Thanks to the generosity of their suppliers Hazlemere were able to buy the glass, PVCu window and door frames at cost, which made it easier to be able to donate all the products and their labour/materials free of charge to this needy Welwyn Garden City family.
As part of the transformation project, Hazlemere were asked to survey, supply and install double glazed windows throughout the house and also in the new extension that was built by the DIY SOS team and all the other tradesmen, and other suppliers who had also given their time and resources to the cause. In addition Hazlemere supplied and fitted a double glazed aluminium bi-folding door to the extension built by the DIY SOS team, enabling the Kroutouza family to open up her new living space, as and when the British weather allows!
The DIY SOS programme, showing how this Hertfordshire home was totally transformed was first broadcast live by the BBC 1 at 9pm on Thursday 15th June 2017, when Andrew and Sascha Koutrouza and family returned from 9 days away in Essex to their rejuvenated Welwyn Garden City property.