Ida was 57 years old and lived in Theodore, Alabama. She lived near her daughter and always looked forward to frequent visits from grandson. Ida had Juvenile Diabetes, heart problems, and orthopedic problems as well. Her grandson had Cerebal Palsy and used a wheelchair and a walker. Family members would carry her grandson up and down the stairs to Ida's townhouse like apartment but then he would be stuck there with no way to go and play with the other kids.
On a Martin Luther King Day a group of volunteers made up of University of South Alabama students majoring in physical or occupational therapy arrived to change things. The Mobile Area Council coordinated this effort to bring freedom to this 6 year old boy with Cerebral Palsy. He had a wheelchair at his house but it could not be used at Grandma's apartment so there it stayed. He used a walker when he didn't have his wheelchair, but the steps at Grandma's apartment were too much to handle.
The ramp project begins
Susan Polizzi (left) coordinated the work at Ida's apartment. The materials for this project were provided by Goodwill Easterseals and the volunteer Mobile Area Council, a key part of the Individual & Family Support Program.
The ramp skeleton takes shape
Jenny Oveson, also a student at South, looks on as the project to create a ramp that would meet the landlord's restrictions of not interfering with the parking lot moved towards completion. The ramp design had been ok'd by the landlord who stated that if Ida moved it would be rented to another person who had a disability.
A new way in and out is nearing completion
Only one therapy student had built a ramp before this project. Work went on all day and in the end, Ida was seen with her walker, slowly walking down the new ramp with a smile on her face.
Comments made by the University of South Alabama students indicated that they might be reaching a better understanding of what it means to have serious mobility challenges. It might just make them better therapists. They also seemed to be feeling a certain pride at this particular accomplishment.