’Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ Brings the World to House-Bound Sisters through Polycom and Telesphere
For Cerda Family, Devastating Immune Deficiency No Longer
LAS VEGAS, Nev. and PLEASANTON, Calif. - Millions of television viewers last night watched little Molly and Maggie Cerda discover that, despite sharing a life threatening immune deficiency disease, they now can easily reach out to the world and the world can reach back through a high-definition (HD) telepresence solution from Polycom, Inc. [NASDAQ: PLCM], the global leader in telepresence, video and voice communication solutions.
Polycom and Telesphere Networks Ltd., a nationwide business phone and Internet services provider, supplied the Cerda family with a new Polycom HDX 7000™ room telepresence system: A state-of-the-art, HD telepresence system that uses the latest HD video technology. Equipped with two 32-inch plasma monitors, the system enables the Cerda family to get face to face with people and places located throughout the world – all presented with lifelike HD realism.
“This is an amazing tool for educating Molly and Maggie, and it makes it easier for them to take part in the usual childhood activities – visiting a museum or taking a dance or music class – that to a large degree have been denied them,” said Terri Cerda, the girls’ mother. “Kids with immune-compromising diseases sometimes get frustrated that their conditions prevent them from going places other kids go. But now, with this Polycom telepresence system serving as a launch pad for new adventures and discoveries, they’ll feel there’s nowhere they can’t go.”
As depicted in last night’s episode of the ABC hit television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” Terri and Chuck Cerda’s two daughters&mdashMolly, age 8, and Maggie, age 7—were diagnosed four years ago with Combined Immune Deficiency Disease (CIDD), a condition so serious that even a common cold could prove lethal. For the Cerdas, to take their girls to museums or other indoor spaces for educational and recreational activities, the girls must wear protective masks. So the home-schooled girls rarely leave their Las Vegas home, and visitors must be free of colds or other illnesses before they may enter the home.
Polycom and Telesphere Bring the World Home to the Cerda Girls
Polycom and Telesphere collaborated closely with the producers of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to acquire and install the Polycom system in the Cerda’s rebuilt home.
Terri Cerda noted that the Polycom solution will help augment her home-schooling curriculum in math, science and other areas. In addition, the family will have access to a host of Polycom-sponsored resources, including:
* A free searchable database of more than 1,900 educational programs from schools, zoos, museums and more. The Cerda family can participate in programs hosted by LEARNnco, NASA, the Library of Congress, the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the U.S. Senate, the Indianapolis Zoo, the NY Institute of Culinary Arts and more.
* A global network of educators who regularly collaborate on projects over video conference. The Cerda girls could engage in projects and build friendships with students in Germany, China, India, New York – anywhere.
* Special events that can connect the Cerda family live with renowned authors, experts in fascinating fields, and famous locations, and other opportunities to access free rich content to enhance studies. For instance, they could chat with the author of their favorite book or quiz an astronaut about how Las Vegas looks from space.
“With thousands of schools and leading institutions around the world equipped with Polycom systems, the Cerda family has the academic, cultural and enterprise world at its doorstep,” said Russ Colbert, Polycom’s Global Education Market Director. “Polycom is proud to join Telesphere and ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ in creating this solution with its amazing capacity to connect people and places to a genuinely remarkable family.”
“Education is the foundation of our youth and Telesphere is grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Molly and Maggie by partnering with Polycom and ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ to allow this remarkable family to engage in the world around them through this amazing technology,” said Clark Peterson, CEO of Telesphere.
The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team chose to rebuild the Cerda’s home because the house itself was toxic. The Cerdas were sold a poorly built, flood-prone home, and recently were advised to gut the house or tear it down completely and rebuild. Though Chuck Cerda works as a federal law enforcement officer, his wife Terri, a former global relief worker, must stay home to take care of the girls. Terri Cerda herself is disabled from CIDD. So the couple didn’t have the money to rebuild their home, even as it posed a grave health risk to their daughters. Based on their need and how ideally the Cerda parents fit the show’s Season 6 theme of “Heroes,” the Cerda family was chosen among thousands of applicants.
Ranging from room-sized set-ups with cinematic screens to personal desktop systems, Polycom’s HD telepresence solutions feature Polycom UltimateHD™ technology, which delivers true HD video, audio, and shared content such as documents,images and multimedia. UltimateHD allows meeting participants to pick up every nuance of a conversation, see facial expressions, make eye contact, and read body language – all essential to effective communication and collaboration. And Polycom StereoSurround™ delivers crisp, natural voice clarity even when multiple parties are speaking.
For more information on Polycom’s programs and resources for educators, visit:
The Emmy award winning reality program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” now in its 6th season, is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. It’s executive-produced by Anthony Dominici. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America. The show airs Sundays from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET on ABC.
Telesphere is a nationwide business phone and Internet services provider that delivers an innovative package of IP telephone service and internet access to businesses throughout the United States. Telesphere’s services allow businesses to enjoy all of the latest voice and data features of large businesses without the costly investment of on premise equipment. Telesphere fully manages its customers’ services over a private IP facilities-based network. Telesphere customers that are spread across multiple offices throughout the country, from small business, medium business, and even home business, function seamlessly as if they were in the same location.
Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM) is the global leader in telepresence, video, and voice solutions and a visionary in communications that empower people to connect and collaborate everywhere. Please visit www.polycom.com for more information.
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