NARI members give back to the community, and in keeping with that, NARI of San Diego’s third-annual charity build was particularly rewarding for one family in the community.
Taylor Church’s world was rocked when doctors discovered she had a life-threatening blood infection. Doctors were forced to amputate Church’s hands and feet in order to save her life, providing the 22-year-old single mother her biggest challenge yet.
NARI of San Diego Secretary Carrie Cook, of DalTile, based in San Diego, knew of Church’s tragedy through her husband, who grew up with Church’s father, a recently retired marine.
“Taylor Church’s life changed overnight,” says Chapter President Sheen Fischer, of Specialty home Improvement Inc., based in Escondido, Calif. “She woke up out of a coma as an amputee.”
When the members of the board visited Church’s home, all were struck by the humbleness and gratitude expressed by the Church family.
“It was incredible to meet Taylor one-in-a-half months after coming home from the hospital, taking care of her 18-month-year-old son as best as she could, and with such great spirits about her life and the fact that she was happy to be alive,” Fischer says.
During the visit, it was apparent that Church’s new challenges involved adjusting to life as an amputee while maintaining her independence.
“It was evident that Taylor was still in the process of learning how to use her arms and legs and taking baby steps toward independence,” Fischer says. “Certainly, one of the ways we felt like we could help her be more independent was by making her bathroom accessible.”
The project included universal design elements such as, widening the doorway, adding a larger shower, grab bars and an accessible toilet.
Fischer says everyone at the chapter pitched in, and it only took a few weeks for them to have everything, including materials ready to go. Designers laid out the scope of work, others developed the materials list and a donor spreadsheet was circulated around the chapter to track monetary or materials donations as they came in.
Materials were donated by Dixieline Lumber Co., Ferguson Enterprises, TOTO USA, ProSource Wholesale Flooring and DalTile. Electricians, drywallers, framers and plumbers within the chapter donated their expertise during the nine-day project period. Fischer estimates that 40 to 50 people volunteered at the job site, and another 40 people donated about $25,000 in materials.
As president, Fischer finds it rewarding to have a chapter that is so willing to donate to such a worthy cause. As a member of the community, Fischer finds it rewarding to have the ability to organize a project that truly was able to help someone in need.
“Taylor has a lot of drive in her,” Fischer says. “As she continues to learn how to live over time, and begins to use her prosthetics, I know that her future will be better.” –Morgan Zenner