Community rallies to support Eagle Mountain widow, 6 children

Published: Thursday, May 9 2013 7:45 p.m. MDT

Audrey Uribe, 10, and Aimee Dodd make angels in the new grass in Dodd's backyard in Eagle Mountain on Thursday, May 9, 2013. As part of the RED Day effort, Keller Williams South Valley Realty spent the day with the Dodds installing an entire yard, including a fully functioning sprinkler system, moving top soil and sod, and planting flower beds for the family. Dodd recently lost her husband to brain cancer, has six young children and was in need of a yard to meet her neighborhood's requirements.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — The headaches started in June 2012. At the time, Dustin Dodd and his wife, Aimee, didn't think much of them. The family was in the process of moving into a new home.

His headaches, they assumed, stemmed from the stress of house hunting.

By August, the headaches had become more frequent, but they still didn't seem out of the ordinary.

"He did shift work at Kennecott," Aimee Dodd said, "so he got headaches a lot because he didn’t sleep well.”

September brought nothing but sick days for Dustin.

“He was either asleep or throwing up,” Aimee said.

On Oct. 22, Dustin was diagnosed with brain cancer. He underwent surgery the next day and was in a coma a week later. He died March 23 at age 31, leaving behind a wife and six children under age 10.

“There are days when we're laughing, tickling and playing with each other," Aimee said, "and other days when we’re moping around crying, hugging and we just want to be sad."

Today, she has a whole new set of responsibilities, one of which includes fulfilling a homeowners association requirement to have a landscaped yard.

Matt Bellini, chairman of Keller Williams Reality Cares, was at the Dodd home on St. Andrews Circle on Thursday putting in irrigation system, laying sod and planting shrubbery.

Bellini worked alongside other Keller Williams employees, as well as volunteers from Security National Mortgage and First American Title Co.

Every May 9, Keller Williams has a RED (renew, energize and donate) day to improve the local community. Bellini said this year's RED project “really tugged at my heartstrings.”

“This is by far my favorite project,” he said. “It took a lot of different members to put this together and do (the yard) in one day.”

Suzie Pickering, a Keller Williams real estate agent, is a member of the Agent Leadership Council that meets once a month to decide where Keller Williams can contribute in the community.

“With a big group, we can accomplish so much in such a short time,” she said.

The opportunity to serve refocuses her priorities, Pickering said, and brings the office together.

Sean Caldwell, another Keller Williams agent, said he’s been impressed with the company’s ability to pinpoint needs in the community.

“There’s not enough paying it forward in the world,” he said. “It’s great to be a part of a company that does that.”

Family friend Jackie Foristoe has been managing a Facebook page set up for the Dodd family. The page has received more than 11,000 likes, and Foristoe said donations have come in from all over the world.

“Most donations have been from complete strangers,” she said.

Candlelite Homes has volunteered to finish the Dodds' basement, where Foristoe and her three daughters will live to help the family.

Foristoe said she hopes to collect enough money at a fundraiser May 18 for the family to pay off the home. The fundraiser will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Herriman Towne Center, 5361 W. Meadowside Drive.

Finishing the yard and basement have been things Aimee Dodd said she wouldn’t have been able to do on her own.

“It looks so beautiful,” she said. “I’m so excited now the kids have a place to play.”

Aimee Dodd said she's been having a difficult time holding back her tears, partly from missing Dustin but also from the generosity she has been shown.

“I feel the love,” she said. “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t live in Utah and especially Eagle Mountain."

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