Contractors, friends step in to help Chester County man battling ALS with home project

One struggle for Donald Barna has been getting around his two-story home.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Contractors help renovate home of Chester Co. man battling ALS
Christmas is coming early for a Chester County man as a group of contractors are stepping in to make his life with ALS a little bit easier at his Chadds Ford home.

CHADDS FORD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Christmas is coming early this year for one family in Chester County.

Donald Barna was diagnosed with ALS in 2022.

As his mobility decreases, a group of contractors are stepping in to make his life a little bit easier at his home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

"It's really heartbreaking when we found out about the diagnosis. You're in shock. You're looking for, 'Oh no it's not ALS, it's something else,'" said Jillian Barna.

Donald was diagnosed at 46, and the last two years have been an uphill battle. One struggle for him has been getting around his two-story home.

"Each day it's getting harder and harder for me, even with my speech," said Donald.

The Barnas have been documenting their journey online and his condition has been top of mind for their friends, including John Ettore.

"I learned of Don's diagnosis when it happened, and I figured why not try to build him a bathroom to try to make life a little easier for him," Ettore said.

"I just cold-called. I kept calling and calling, a bunch of different places until someone gave me a yes," he added.

His business partner at DelCo Storm and Sewer Services, a general contractor, and an electrician all agreed to Ettore's request.

The majority of the materials for the project were all donated.

Action News asked Jillian what was going through her mind when she found out this was happening.

"I was just really taken back by the generosity and people willing to help," she replied.

A small gesture makes a huge impact on Donald's everyday life.

"It means the world to me. Without it, what can I do?" he said.

Work is slated to start this week, and what would usually take between a month to six weeks, the crew is hoping to complete in three weeks.

You can donate to the heartfelt project at