Caregiving is a tough job. November is National Caregivers month, so today we celebrate the people who lovingly provide life-altering services to those with disabilities. We honor the hard work and dedication caregivers offer day in and day out, sometimes around the clock.
Home Builders Foundation is blessed to meet and partner with so many wonderful caregivers of our clients. Daily we interact with people experiencing the unthinkable. A random automobile accident, a devasting fall, the strike of a debilitating disease; chances are you know someone who has been thrust into a situation they could not have imaged or planned for. It is during these times that mothers, fathers, family members and friends become more…they take on the role of fulltime caregiver.
Some caregivers manage what seems to be the impossible. They hear, “Your child may never walk again.” They think, “This is a setback that we will overcome!” In 2012, Koeun and her family’s lives changed forever when her son Tyler, 15 years old at the time, was a passenger involved in a roll over car accident. He was so lucky to have survived that horrible accident, but he was paralyzed from the shoulders down as a quadriplegic with a C-4 spinal cord injury. Due to Tyler’s physical limitations, Koeun became her son’s primary caregiver.
That particular moment was an extremely difficult and uncertain time for Koeun and her family. Tyler was in the ICU and was undergoing a number of lifesaving surgeries and procedures. Koeun has said, “Being in the ICU with Tyler, I immediately knew that I wanted and needed to participate in my son’s care. I also knew that I would need to be his biggest advocate and help him navigate through the challenging situations that he would be facing every day of his life. But this was all so new and overwhelming….there was so much I needed to figure out and learn in order to be the best advocate for my son but I wondered if I was ready for the challenge.”
Since 2012, HBF and Koeun’s family have built a very intricate web of giving and receiving. While Tyler was going through rehabilitation, Koeun was introduced to HBF. HBF responded to their needs: building a ramp, modifying doorways and even transforming part of their garage into an accessible suite. These modifications allowed Tyler to safety navigate his family home. That made Koeun’s confidence soar; she could finally bring her son home to start his rehab process, beginning his journey to walking again and ultimately independence. She was more at ease and had no worries knowing her son could enter their home freely and safely.
Over the years, HBF provided additional home modifications, including building a deck on the back of the home to allow Tyler to spend time enjoying the outdoors, and ultimately where he took his first independent steps after his accident.
Koeun’s caregiving extends beyond her dedication to her son. As soon as the need for social distancing and masks hit our communities in 2020, Koeun, a seamstress by trade, embarked on a campaign to provide masks to as many HBF associates as possible. She provided vital safety equipment to our staff, clients and associates. A full circle of giving and helping one another through challenging situations. Most recently, Koeun applied for and was awarded a grant from the Colorado Rapids organization which she won and gifted to HBF. On November 17, Kelly Koeun was named Rapids’ 2020 Community MVP Presented by Wells Fargo. An honor that further highlights her relationship with and brings more awareness to HBF.
Please join us in thanking those who bathe, clothe, feed and support daily life functions for those living with disabilities. Take time this month to recognize National Caregiver Month with your words and your donations. One of the best ways you can show your gratitude for your health and other gifts in your life is by sharing with others.
As always, we thank you for your generous support of the HBF! For more information on how you can support HBF in 2021, contact Lauren Knudsen