4-year-old with special needs receives new wheelchair ramp

On Thursday more than 100 volunteers worked throughout Jacksonville to help those in our community gain easier access to their homes.

It’s part of the Northeast Florida Builders Association and Builders Care first-ever Ramp-O-Rama.

The Northeast Florida Builders’ Association is teaming up with non-profits like Builders Care and Gianna’s Path of Love to help families that can’t afford a wheelchair ramp.

Four-year-old Stephen is getting a wheelchair ramp built onto his thanks to all the volunteers stepping up to help.

“It’s going to help him walk. It’s going to help him maneuver his wheelchair so much better,” Nikki Frank, Stephen’s mother said.

Stephen is autistic and he was born prematurely with a heart defect.

“He had his left foot amputated just shy of a year and a half old and so that took some getting used to for us,” she said.

Stephen’s home is one of 10 homes receiving a wheelchair ramp on Thursday.

Before Frank said she used to have to carry him up the steps.

Jessie Spradley Jr., the deputy executive officer for Northeast Florida Builders’ association told me the need in the community has only gone up along with labor shortages and lumber cost.

“On a new single-family home since April of 2020, lumber prices have risen about $36,000 dollars nationwide. For a ramp like this that means for what it used to cost $1,500 or $2,000 is now $3,500 to $5,000,” Spradley said.

Using a grant from UNF and other donors these volunteers can install these ramps for free.

A project this size can take the whole day, but Frank said it’ll all be worth the wait in the end.

“It’s going to be fun to watch him go down because he loves to go fast,” Frank said.