Home makeover tailored for wheelchair-bound mom

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA-TV

Posted on April 20, 2010 at 11:51 PM

MORGAN MILL — A young Erath County mother left partially paralyzed by a random crime is coming home on Wednesday.

With less than 24 hours to go, a team of volunteers continued working at her home — sawing, painting, and pounding — trying to ensure everything is ready for Brandi Todd and her wheelchair.

"It changes your whole life when someone in your family gets disabled like this," said Jim DeForest, whose daughter was stabbed in a random attack at a Stephenville city park last month.

To figure out what Todd will need when she comes home, the volunteers put themselves in her position, literally, rolling through her home in a wheelchair.

"Figuring out where our knuckles were hitting and figuring which door needed to be widened up, which wall needed to be moved," DeForest said.

One thing they noticed was that in order to deal with dishes, Todd will need to roll under the kitchen sink. So they cut an opening where a cabinet used to be.

Carpeting was removed. "And this just makes it easier for her to get back and forth in the house, because a wheelchair just rolls easier on a hard surface," DeForest explained.

Volunteers also added a new bathroom with the necessary safety handles designed for Todd, who is unable to use her legs.

The home already had a back patio, but rocks were embedded in sand — impossible for a wheelchair. So, Todd's friends put in a patio with a flat surface and a wheelchair ramp.

Much of the work was donated. Tommy Dingman did all the labor on the new floors. Why?

"They were in a bind," he said.

In a nutshell, that's the kind of community support that will keep Brandi Todd and her family moving forward for years to come.

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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