Arthur Ashe, the tennis player and social activist, once said, "Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is usually more important than the outcome." He may as well have been talking about Kevin O'Reilly and the Sachem East community.

Sachem East High School spearheaded an effort to get one of their students, Kevin O'Reilly, to be featured on ABC's "Extreme Home Makeover." For those that are unfamiliar with the program, it is a reality show, hosted by Ty Pennington, that builds new homes for people that ABC believes are deserving and in need.

As blogged about Wednesday, Kevin suffers from a genetic condition that has worn down his muscular system. Recently, Kevin became bound to a wheelchair, and the high ranch that his family lives in needs modifications to accommodate his disability.

In the past 22 hours, the effort has intensified. Kevin now has a strong Twitter following, with members of the Sachem East community spreading the word about the campaign. Additionally, the Facebook group looking to raise awareness for the effort to bring "Extreme Home Makeover" to Kevin's family has grown from about 2,500 members Wednesday night at 9 to more than 4,500 members, and counting, Thursday.

Rory Manning, the principal at Kevin's Sachem East High School, has been one of the faculty members leading the effort to get the 12th grader a renovated house. He attested to Kevin's personality, in and out of the classroom.

"Kevin is a gentle soul who is surrounded by people who love him, both here at Sachem East and at home," Manning said. "Kevin is also very successful academically. He has earned multiple academic awards for the past three years, and I am confident that he will again this year as a senior.

"In a school of 2,500-plus, it is difficult to know each student by name, but everyone knows Kevin," Manning continued. "When he recently became bound to a wheelchair after a valiant effort to retain his ability to walk through the halls of our school, our staff was there to support him through the tough transition. As only Kevin can, he persevered with a smile that inspired others and that is why we are where we are today with this Extreme Makeover application."

Manning also detailed the response to the pitch, which began with four teachers at the school: Trish Auletta, a special education teacher and the special education summer school principal, Dr. Fern Miranda, the school psychologist, Stephanie Camunale, an individual aide that works with Kevin daily, and Kate Taylor, Kevin's guidance counselor.

"Each day I hear more and more people who truly believe that Kevin's story, combined with the overwhelming community support, could be great for the TV program. I truly hope that the producers feel the same," Manning said. "I think that the journey has been so important for our community. When people are united by a common cause and can stand together, it makes our differences seem petty and unimportant. I can feel that when I walk the halls of our school.

"There is a buzz, and it is unmistakable."

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You can read about the application to get Kevin on the television show by joining the "Extreme Makeover for Kevin O'Reilly" Facebook group.

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