JACKSONVILLE, Fla — One act of kindness snowballed into dozens of Northeast Florida families getting some unexpected help.
When 2-year-old Isaac Toenies’ family moved to a new house to be closer to NAS Jacksonville, where his father is stationed, they quickly realized they need wheelchair ramps.
“He still remains undiagnosed for the underlying genetic condition, but he does have cerebral palsy low tone which makes it difficult to sit. He's not yet walking,” explained Beth Toenies, the boy's mother.
Without ramps, she was having to lift up his heavy equipment.
“He has a little wheelchair, a gait trainer for how he can walk to and from while in it, but unfortunately it's three feet wide so it was something that was very difficult to maneuver up and down steps,” Beth Toenies said. “He simply can’t.”
When the nonprofit Builders Care found out the family needed ramps, Executive Director Justin Brown jumped into action.
“One of the ladies we work with has a good friend who works at Fletcher's Medical, and they had these ramps that are $300 apiece, but they had like 40 of them and nothing to do with them,” Brown said.
The company offered to donate the ramps, so Brown took three for Isaac’s house.
“There are these tiny little transition areas, but it basically makes it inaccessible for Isaac to get through because he can't get down to the next room,” Brown explained. “As I was leaving, I said Fletcher said they have a lot more. If you need any more just let me know.”
Beth Toenies reached out to a support group she’s a part through the Bower Lyman Center for Medically Complex Children and dozens of families responded saying they needed ramps. Builders Care then delivered the ramps to each family.
“We've been able to donate 42 ramps in the last couple weeks to families in Northeast Florida who otherwise were doing what I was, lifting up the chair or just doing a lot of physical labor,” Beth Toenies said. “We’ve even had one young lady say she was able to for the first time in 16 years get into her house on her own thanks to the ramp, so really happy that we were able to help.”
Builders Care distributed all of the ramps Fletcher’s Medical Supplies donated, but Isaac’s mother wants to hear from you if you need a wheelchair ramp.
You can email Beth Toenies at firstname.lastname@example.org. She hopes to help connect more families in need with ramps.