While driving from Longmont to Boulder in the early morning of January of 2018, Lauren Slack’s car skidded on some ice and was hit broadside by a truck. The accident left Lauren, a 25-year-old student at CU Boulder working towards her Masters Degree in Speech Pathology, in a wheelchair and living with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
During the months following her accident, she began to make tremendous progress, including regaining the ability to talk after 8 months. As her discharge date from rehabilitation approached, her family began to prepare for her arrival back home. Despite making several modifications themselves, a few obstacles remained including a sunken living room and a steep, homemade ramp out the front door, (Lauren would close her eyes when going down).
That’s where the Home Builders Foundation (HBF) became a part of Lauren’s story. The HBF is a metro-Denver based nonprofit that modifies homes to make them accessible so that individuals living with a disability can live safe, independent lives once again. After receiving the Lauren’s request for assistance, the HBF visited the home to assess the project and began sourcing Project Captains to complete the work. Haberer Carpentry, Saddleback Design and BMC, all long-time HBF supporters, pitched in to make the modifications for Lauren. The “sunken” living room was raised so it was all one level and carpet was removed and replaced with hardwood flooring. Those modifications allow Lauren complete access within her home. Additionally, an ADA-approved ramp was built into the garage and one was built to access the patio, with a custom-made 36” wide door to provide safe access into and out of the back of the house.
“Last night my wife and I were in the living room and Lauren, who had been in the kitchen, came rolling into the living room – by herself, unannounced. I almost started crying. It hit me that she now has the freedom to move around the whole house, independently. We’re so grateful to the Home Builders Foundation folks and your crews for this amazing gift..” – Eric Slack, Lauren’s dad
The total value of the work completed for Lauren is close to $20,000, but thanks to the HBF, Haberer Carpenty, Saddleback Design and BMC, Lauren and her family received these modifications at no cost. The modifications increase Lauren’s safety and her ability to independently access her home. With this work complete, she can focus on her recovery (learning how to walk again), and finishing her Masters to become a speech therapist and help others regain their voices.
Also see Lauren’s article in the Bloomfield Enterprise.