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Client Stories

Joseph T

Accessibility Ramp, Bathroom Modifications, Home Repairs, Weatherization

"It has completely changed the quality of his life. I can't thank PWC enough."

- Joseph T.'s Mom, Pam -
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It was just a split second. Pam needed to do a few chores, and left the baby in the care of her teenage daughters. A bright, energetic toddler, Joseph took the opportunity to play in the backyard.

When one of the daughters realized she hadn't seen her cherub-faced little brother peeking around a bush or playing with a ball, she tore off down the street, calling his name.

Sadly, it was several minutes later when they found Joseph Tolliver, not even two years old, floating face down in a neighbor's pool.

Doctors said he would never regain any brain function, and spend his short life confined to a hospital bed. Pam thought otherwise, and solidly vowed that his life would have meaning, purpose and joy and took him back to their home.

"I set out to prove them wrong," she said. "I knew he was in there, waiting for his mommy. I knew he was there-"

With round the clock care and therapy, Joseph began to communicate with coughs, grunts squeals- and blinking his eyes. One blink for no, several for yes. Now a single parent of four, she was able to work with social services to receive professional nursing assistance and other high end care- but had little money left for anything else. Joseph had several surgeries to correct spinal cord damage, but the miracle that resulted was his growth. Before she knew it, Joseph was 15 and Pam could no longer just lift him.

"I couldn't get him in or out of the bathtub, or in and out of the house to therapy," said Pam.

Help was available from People Working Cooperatively. PWC was able to make small repairs to the home and weatherize, but the cost of a full bathroom remodel was way beyond her means.

"It was a big job," said PWC Modifications manager John Hay," way beyond the scope of what we normally do."

Modifications for Mobility funds (raised through PWC's Annual Support Campaign) helped with a newly modified bathroom. And a special "paddle-raiser" fundraiser at PWC's annual Oscar Night America gala in February 2009 paid for a new wheelchair ramp.

Now, Joseph can safely bathe and enter and leave his home without worry of being hurt or dropped.

"It's just been a miracle," said Pam. "Joseph really loves that bathroom it gives him so much more privacy- and the ramp is just amazing. He loves to go out into the yard and smell the roses. It has completely changed the quality of his life. I can't thank PWC enough."

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