Flyers Wives give Oxford Circle family an extreme makeover

Posted: April 21, 2013

THE FLYERS WIVES gently ushered Christopher Sok, 17, and his family out of their Oxford Circle rowhouse Friday and put them in a hotel until Sunday, when they will return to freshly-painted walls, refinished floors, new bathrooms, new furniture, even a newly-sodded front lawn.

The Flyers Wives' "Building Hope for Kids" project started as a bedroom makeover for Sok, who is receiving cancer treatments at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

But the project mushroomed into a whole-house makeover for Sok's family - his mom, Morleka Sok; his dad, Yim Ev; his sister Thyda; his niece Nina, 3; and his nephew Troy, 1 1/2.

A recent Daily News visit to the house revealed brightly-painted walls in blues and earth tones, beautiful wood floors, a firmly locked door to Christopher's bedroom and no furniture anywhere.

"We booted Christopher out of his room because we'd like it to be a surprise," said Rhonda McCarthy, wife of Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach Kevin McCarthy, who is co-managing the makeover with Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's wife, Zjenia.

"Christopher is training to be an automotive collision repairman," McCarthy said, "and he was really concerned that we were going to give his bedroom a [Disney Pixar] 'Cars' theme."

McCarthy said the Flyers Wives consulted with the teenage sons of head coach Peter Laviolette and goalie coach Jeff Reese to make sure the makeover would be cool with the Swenson Arts/Tech High School junior.

"We gave Christopher's bedroom a corrugated metal wall that looks like a garage wall, and we used some chrome and leather," McCarthy said.

"All hockey wives are interior decorators," she said, laughing. "We have to be because we move so much."

McCarthy said Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn's wife, Nadine, framed some family pictures for the living room, while defenseman Luke Schenn's girlfriend had ties with makeover superstar Ty Pennington ("Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"), which helped with ideas.

Michael's Way, a nonprofit that helps cancer-stricken children's families pay nonmedical expenses, has been a partner from the get-go.

Asked what this project means to her personally, McCarthy found herself unable to speak.

After a moment, she said, "Talking about this always chokes me up. We've been there for some of the family's ups and downs. I became very attached to them. My children are grown up, so this gives me a sense of purpose. Hopefully, they'll be delighted."

Morleka Sok said, "We are so thankful for what the Flyers Wives are doing. Extreme makeover!" She and Christopher exchanged warm smiles.

On Twitter: @DanGeringer

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