Ramping Up to Help those in Need.

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Pass It On®

Ramping Up to Help those in Need.
How a community came together in a time of tragedy.

By The Foundation for a Better Life

Colleen isn’t well known to her neighbors. She’ll wave when they pass, but mostly she keeps to herself. In her mid-sixties, her husband is mostly homebound with health issues, so she takes care of him and reminisces about the business they built together but had to sell so she could be his caregiver. The kids visit, bringing the grandkids, but time is pressed for young families, and Colleen often spends afternoons alone, sitting on her porch. That’s where she got the news.

Colleen’s son called her, hardly able to speak. His wife had been in an accident that killed her and their young son. That left him alone to care for his disabled daughter, who needed a wheelchair to get around. He was distraught. Quickly, they planned that he and his daughter would move in with Colleen and her husband and try to make things work. It wouldn’t be easy, but they could manage.

The day Colleen’s son arrived with his daughter, he struggled to lift her wheelchair up the stairs. Across the street, Sheila was just leaving the house. She had a full schedule but noticed the scene. She paused and crossed to help. Emotions were still raw, and vulnerabilities were open and unmasked. Colleen burst into tears. As the story spilled out, a friendship began. Sheila cried with Colleen. She couldn’t imagine how Colleen and her son could manage to get the wheelchair in and out of the house twice a day. So she put the word out to neighbors. Carpenters needed to build a wheelchair ramp. No pay.

The next day, three carpenters showed up. They met Colleen. They met the bright girl in the wheelchair. They drew up plans and debated designs and materials. They made Colleen laugh, and then cry again because they were so kind. They recruited more help, and their daughters came over to welcome the special new girl to the neighborhood.

Ross, the lead carpenter on the project, hugged Colleen and told her how lucky she was. Ross had a disabled daughter who had died years before. He misses her every day.

“Doing something for this special girl feels like I’m doing it for my own daughter,” he said. “It does a heart good.”

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Pass It On®

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