Residents with mobility issues now have a new resource to move them from here to there.
The Community Action Team (CAT) has developed a new program to reuse wheelchair ramps and wheelchair lifts after use.
“We’ve named this new program Revolving Wheelchair Ramps and Elevators Program,” said CAT coordinator Neal Jones.
St Helens resident Patricia McMartin is the first participant in the mobility aid program.
McMartin was recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. The disease has affected McMartin’s ability to walk, climb stairs and live a lifestyle she had only a year ago.
Knowing that her life was rapidly changing, McMartin said she started looking for a new home that is accessible to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and found a home that met some of her ADA needs, but no access. until the house.
After having trouble finding contractors, Patricia reached out to the CAT team for help.
Jones evaluated McMartin’s needs and constructed a plan to provide her with a wheelchair lift and materials to build a landing. The project will cost McMartin nothing, provided she donates the elevator back to CAT after use.
“Her son Ian McMartin and his father Jim McMartin offered to build the wheelchair landing and assemble the wheelchair lift,” Jones said. “Their joint efforts in conjunction with the Community Action Team have played a key role in making this project affordable.”
Materials were delivered and construction began immediately and in two days the wheelchair lift was erected and the wheelchair platform completed, Jones said
“Patricia now has secure access to her home thanks to the Community Action Team, Ian McMartin and Jim McMartin,” Jones said.
“The elevator is really a tool to make it easier for me to get in and out of my house,” McMartin said. “I used stairs before the elevator was installed.
McMartin had used a walker to go up and down the house stairs to get to her car. She said the wheelchair lift allows her to be more mobile.
“Eventually I will be in a wheelchair,” she said. “It’s not getting me any better. So this is a big help. I can’t say enough good things about CAT. They are like angels.”
McMartin said she recommends CAT for anyone who needs such mobility services.
“I really appreciate all the help they’ve given me. It was just amazing,” she said. “This is a long-term loan as lift. When I die, or become too immobile, the elevator will go back to CAT and they will offer it to another customer.
Jones said the value of the CAT elevator project is estimated at $10,000.
CAT had the elevator in storage when the agency received McMartin’s call for assistance. The cost for the elevator was about $2,500 and paid for by donated funding, according to Jones.
Contact Neal Jones of the Community Action Team at 503-369-6922 to make donations to support the Revolving Wheelchair Ramp and Lift Program or if you have a wheelchair ramp or wheelchair lift and would like to donate it now or after use. Checks or money orders can be sent to the Community Action Team, Attention CI Dept. 125 N 17th Street, St Helens, OR 97051.
For more information about programs the Community Action Team offers, other opportunities to help, or to find resources, contact CAT at 503-397-3511 or visit us at www.cat-team.org†