What was once a house, is now a truly accessible home

Imagine this…one evening, a routine drive home from your son’s basketball practice ends in a head-on collision just 3 miles from your home. Your 16-year-old daughter quickly recovers from minor injuries. Your 9-year-old son, however, sustains internal and spinal injuries and is now paralyzed from the waist down.

That’s the situation that Rianna and her family were in this time last year. After completing his 12-week rehab program, Rianna’s son Jace, was now adjusting to life in a wheelchair.

After the accident, Rianna and her partner Johnathan moved the family to a ranch-style home to help improve accessibility for Jace. Thick carpet, no ramp, and other barriers, however, still posed challenges to his independence. Everyday tasks such as brushing teeth or getting from the house to the car required assistance.

Thankfully, a friend told Rianna about the Home Builders Foundation (HBF). She applied for assistance in March of this year and, by August, the HBF and their partners of skilled volunteers from the home-building industry completed multiple accessible modifications to the family’s house.

Thick carpet was replaced with hardwood, doors were widened, a ramp was constructed, and a roll-in shower replaced a bathtub. With the support of donors from HBF, the entire project, valued at $20,000, was completed at no cost to the family.

These modifications and support from the HBF and our community forever changed the lives of Jace and his family. What was once a house, is now a truly accessible home.

We recently received this update from Jace’s Mom:

“Jace is an inspiration.  I heard that a lot this past year.  As we watch how one moment, he’s on his bed relaxing to five minutes later zooming around on his wheelchair in the garage looking for ways to make slime, to transferring himself to and from the shower and we are in awe of this little guy.  The other evening he was in the shower and I knocked and told him to call me when he was finished.  15 minutes later I go check on him and he’s on his bed putting lotion on and I said “Jace! Why didn’t you call me, you could’ve hurt yourself” and he replied “Mom, I’m fine. I’m not a little boy anymore” and it was then that I realized how truly inspirational he really is.

This holiday season we are especially thankful for the act of kindness.  Our experience has opened our eyes to a world we really never knew existed or paid much attention to.  A friend of ours once told me to never make Jace’s new lifestyle feel like a burden.  If it’s a five minute trip to the store to get cheese and he asks to go, let him.

So, just like that, a five-minute trip for us is now thirty minutes, and that’s okay…. Never enough words to express our gratitude.”

Jace and his family are just one of nearly 1,600 recipients who have benefited from the HBF and these accessible home modifications since our founding 25 years ago. In partnership with the home building industry, our donors make this impact possible.