How we helped a paralyzed woman return home

November 12, 2020
by Frank Illif, Executive Director at Rebuilding Together Muscatine

A phrase I often use when referring to Rebuilding Together Muscatine County’s work is “it just needs done.” There are so many neighbors in Muscatine County, and across the country, who need home repairs, but they simply cannot afford them. Jessie and Rick are just one of the many families we have served that needed work done.

50-year-old Muscatine County resident, Jessie, recently suffered from a heart attack and stroke. Unfortunately, due to the stroke, Jessie became paralyzed from the waist down. This meant that she would be bound to a wheelchair with no time to prepare. Jessie has spent time in an assisted living facility while learning how to use a wheelchair. Her husband, Rick, worried for when Jessie eventually comes home, because knew that their house was not wheelchair accessible. Rick could not afford to make major home repairs since he had to quit his job to take care of Jessie. 

Rick contacted his Senator, who put him in touch with Rebuilding Together Muscatine County. After hearing about Jessie and Rick’s dilemma, we knew we had to help.

There was no way to attach a wheelchair ramp to the front of their home, so we had to get creative. We decided with Rick that we would build a ramp off their side porch. The ramp ended up being over six feet high and almost 90 feet long. In order to make the ramp up to ADA standards, it had to be that long. Unfortunately, Jessie is still in the hospital facing medical complications. When she can return home, Jessie will be able to get inside without any added risks. Their family recently hosted a Zoom get-together where they thanked us and were crying tears of joy. We are hopeful that Jessie will have a speedy recovery, and that she will feel comfortable and safe entering her home on her new ramp.