We’re so excited to introduce you to the Coots family, our 2017 Big Splash recipients. The Coots are a family of six including their four boys. Two of their boys, Jonathan and Joseph, were born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.
Meet the Boys
While these conditions have caused neurological, orthopedic and other conditions for the boys it hasn’t slowed them down. Jonathan is 17 years old and extremely active in school activities. He’s a football manager for his high school team and participates in wheelchair track and field. Jonathan also enjoys weightlifting and has set a high school national record for his weight class.
Joseph is two years old and also hasn’t let conditions related to spina bifida stop him from enjoying life. Joseph is always smiling and loves Disney’s Cars and Toy Story.
A Bathroom Dream
Both boys struggle with mobility and use wheelchairs. The Coot’s main bathroom wasn’t designed to accommodate a wheelchair. The existing shower and tub have also proved a challenge in bathing for the boys. Each of the boys has their own tub seats due to their age differences. Currently, these are both stored in the tub and need to be moved in and out to accommodate each of the respective family members as they bathe.
Jennifer, their mother, dreams of having a barrier-free shower with an adjustable shower head, handles, and a built-in shower seat.
A new accessible bathroom would be a life change for the Coots family. All children desire independence but especially teenagers and Jonathan would no longer need assistance moving in and out of the tub. While Joseph still will need assistance over the next few years, an accessible bathroom will provide him independence as he grows.
In addition to helping the boys gain independence the entire family would benefit. Getting ready for a shower will no longer require the tub seat shuffle. Jennifer will have more room to help bathe Joseph and she won't need to lift him in and out of a tub as he gets older.
"When we heard that we had won the Big Splash, I was truly surprised and immediately felt so blessed and grateful. To have one room in a home that is not very accessible, that will work for the boys is a true blessing. The independence it will bring Jonathan and Joseph is priceless." Jennifer Coots
Ripple Effect Recipients
In addition to our Big Splash Bathroom Giveaway, we’ve also selected two Ripple Effect recipients. Ripple Effect projects are smaller than the full bathroom remodel but can make a big impact.
Raef Meinhardt, 16, is our first Ripple Effect recipient. Raef started having seizures at 3 months of age which required massive brain surgery. He now has cerebral palsy as an effect of the surgery and seizures. In addition to cerebral palsy Raef also has Neurofibromatosis Type I, which causes tumors along nerves. Raef has taken all of this on with a positive attitude and a smile that could light up a room.
We’re excited to work with Raef and his family and replace their existing shower with a new shower that has a ramped base. This will not only make getting ready safer for Raef but create a new-found independence for him. With a ramped shower base, Raef will be able to get ready by himself.
Our second Ripple Effect recipient is four-year-old Megan Hachinsky. Megan has a brain injury and visual impairment called CVI. She walks with a walker and has issues getting in and out of the bathroom because of the width of the door. We’re going to widen the door in the Hacninsky bathroom which will hopefully make getting ready and using the restroom easier for Megan as well as provide her independence as she continues to grow.
We’re thrilled to get to work on the Big Splash bathroom as well as the Ripple Effect projects for these wonderful families and can’t wait to hear how these changes impact their lives!