man in wheelchair with child outside their homeJohn is 57 years old and lives in Benton Harbor. Due to a tumor pushing against his spine, John is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair. On the day our Ramp Up coordinator did a drive-by inspection to evaluate his house for a ramp she saw John being carried over his brother’s shoulder down some crumbling cement stairs. This was the only way John could leave the house and had only done so eight times in the past year to get to his chemotherapy appointments.

John said he contacted fifteen different sources without success before finding Disability Network Southwest Michigan. Through our Ramp Up program, Disability Network coordinated a ramp build with volunteers from First Congregational Church of St. Joseph and First Congregational Church of Kalamazoo. Now John is able to be more independent and engage fully with his family and community. “It’s a blessing! I almost cried when they told me (I’d be getting a ramp), John said. It gives me my life back!”

John said he would lay awake at night worrying that he couldn’t get out of the house in case of a fire or other emergency. John’s four young sons live with him and he said that in addition to the safety issue, having a ramp allows him to do normal everyday things with his family. Now his six year old son can play outside and ride his bike because John is able to be outside watching him.

Your Ramp-a-Thon donation could help build a ramp for someone in need! Ramp-a-Thon supports our Ramp Up program which builds or purchases ramps for people with mobility disabilities in Southwest Michigan. No donation is too big or too small! Please use the button below to make your on-line donation or contact Kristen Potts (269-345-1516 x119) in our Kalamazoo office for other donation methods.