KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A modest house in South Kansas City has been called home by Linda Cull for 50 years. It’s where she was raised and continued to live as an adult, caring for her father who has since passed away.
“Now that he’s gone, I’ve had a harder time,” Cull said referring to her finances.
At one point, she was heavily in debt but has spent the past few years getting back on her feet. She had hoped by next year to be debt free and have enough money left over each month from her salary as a legal secretary to fix up her home, which is in desperate need of a new furnace and a paint job.
What she didn’t expect was a diagnosis of breast cancer. By the time doctors found it earlier this year, the tumor was more than seven centimeters; the size of a baseball.
“Two days after the doctor told me we can’t do any more chemo, you have to go to surgery, I got this in the mail,” Cull said, waving a piece of paper.
It’s a notice from Kansas City’s Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department ordering her to paint her house within 30 days or face a $1,000 fine.
She called the city to explain she needed more time and even offered to send medical records and a note from her doctor. But she said the codes inspector had no sympathy.
“Tell it to the judge’ I was told,” Cull said.
Friend Carolee Frakes has tried to help.
“She’s alone,” Frakes said. “She doesn’t have anybody.”
Frakes sought out city programs or charitable organizations that might be able to assist Cull with her home. But Cull wasn’t eligible since she has a full time job.
“We’ve taken meals to her,” Frakes said. “We’ve done what we can, but we don’t think we can paint a house.”
That’s why Frakes called FOX 4 Problem Solvers and introduced us to Linda Cull, who has spent so much of her life caring for others that it’s difficult for her to accept that she is now the one in need. FOX 4 Problem Solvers knew just the man to tackle the problem. We called Wyatt Zucca of Zucca Roofing.
Once we explained the problem, he volunteered to paint the house, fix the dry rot, trim the trees and even repair her roof.
“It’s close to my heart,” Zucca said. “I have a wife who is battling cancer issues herself.”
Linda Cull was thrilled to learn that a man, who’d never even met her until now, would be so generous.
“I just feel a big sigh of relief,” she said.
FOX 4 Problem Solvers called Kansas City’s city spokesman Chris Hernandez to find out why the city codes inspector would not grant an extension to Linda Cull.
The city is now looking into the matter. Hernandez said that if homeowners are facing unusual hardships, they can appeal the violation and ask for an extension without having to go before a judge.