National Spinal Cord Injury Month (National SCI Awareness Month) honors the courage of those with spinal cord injuries and their families. With that in mind we would like to introduce you to Matt F. He is not only an HBF client! He recently participated in Clubs for a Cause and will MC the Annual Celebration on October 21.
Matt, who has been a paraplegic since age 11, hosted a party at his first home in August. The 32-year-old welcomed the volunteers and supporters who have renovated his home, making it possible for him to live safely and independently with his new bride, Jess. After Matt sustained a spinal cord injury during a sledding accident, his parents renovated the family home to make it accessible. However, since Matt left for college at the age of 18, he’s had to sacrifice comfort and privacy while living in a series of apartments.
“I’ve had to remove doors to accommodate my wheelchair, stack all my belongings in only the lower part of the closet and shower in bathtubs,” recounts Matt.
All that changed when Matt connected with the nonprofit Home Builders Foundation (HBF) shortly after purchasing his first home in 2019. HBF enables individuals with disabilities and their families to live more independent, elevated lives by working with skilled volunteers and partners to create home modifications that empower greater access, reinforce safety and equip clients with the ability to tackle everyday tasks. At the party, Matt and Jess led tours of their renovated home and proudly pointed out the modifications. Including a lift, a deck on the back of the house, a complete bathroom modification and the addition of a front entry ramp.
September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month
300,000 people in the US are living with a spinal cord injury and nearly 18,000 new spinal cord injuries occur each year. The impacts to an individual’s mobility vary according to the severity and location of the injury on the spinal cord. Darin Kraft, an insurance advisor at RSS Insurance Services, was the project captain on Matt’s renovation and has assisted on several HBF projects for clients with spinal cord injuries.
“I’m always inspired by what our clients with spinal cord injuries can accomplish with a little bit of help from us. Now that Matt can easily get to the front driveway, he’s in the process of renovating a van into an accessible camper. It’s so rewarding to assist someone in reclaiming independence,” says Kraft.