The Holiday Spirit In Action: Ramp Built For Man Who Lost Both Legs To Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes took the second of Scott Christman’s legs only weeks after Hurricane Matthew irreparably damaged his family’s fence and roof.
After losing his first leg to the condition nearly five years ago, Christman maintained his independence using a prosthetic. He regularly walked more than a quarter of a mile to public transportation so he could get to lifesaving dialysis treatments needed to combat renal failure.
The loss of his second leg on Nov. 1 made that trek impossible.
Now relying on a wheelchair, the Myrtle Beach resident was unable to readily navigate the steep steps leading down from the family’s front porch. Three times per week, ambulance personnel carried him out of the home so he could be transported for dialysis.
The 45-year-old needed a ramp, but cost was a major hurdle. Repairing the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew had battered the Christmans’ finances.
“We had just spent pretty much everything we had on that – getting back on track,” he said. “And then this (the loss of his leg) happened.”
The scale of the project only added to the challenge. Six support posts embedded in concrete were needed to support the new ramp, which would extend about 24 feet from the front porch to the Christmans’ driveway. It would, in size, resemble more of a deck than a ramp.
Christman and his wife began saving money, but the outlook was murky.
Clarity came unexpectedly. A social worker Christman met during rehabilitation at Tidelands NextStep Rehabilitation Services relayed his situation to the Tidelands NextStep management staff, which had been looking for a holiday project.
“We wanted to honor the spirit of the season by giving back,” said John LaRochelle, Tidelands NextStep Service’s vice president. “Given everything Scott had been through, there was no question we wanted to help. The hard part was figuring out how we could get it done.”
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WBTW was on hand to document the construction of Scott Christman's new ramp.
The team was fortunate to find an eager partner in Georgetown-based Coastal Structures Corp. The company generously agreed to donate its time and labor.
Bolstered by a generous supply of doughnuts, coffee and pizza, construction began at about 7 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. A team of four employees from Coastal Structures, backed by a crew from Tidelands NextStep, began work by digging holes for the support posts. Work wrapped up by about 3 p.m.
“They did a really good job,” Christman said, “more than I thought they would do.”
The new ramp allows Christman to meet ambulance personnel in his driveway when they arrive to take him to dialysis, he said. He can wheel himself to the car for family outings and, because of a new transition installed from the front door to the porch, can join his wife outside for her morning coffee.
“It’s amazing,” Christman said. “I am very thankful.”