Home Life and Arts Students work to give local resident wheelchair ramp after multiple surguries

Students work to give local resident wheelchair ramp after multiple surguries

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Students work with wood to build a ramp.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rodriguez

Essentials to Healthcare Law students gave a bulk of their day April 13 to help construct a wheelchair ramp at the home of longtime San Marcos resident, Mary Ann Lopez.

Lopez is scheduled for surgery in three months due to a breaking her back for the seventh time. Since a car accident in 2009, her back has only gotten worse with other injuries and conditions like arthritis. She has been able to walk in a walker, but after her surgery she will be in a wheelchair.

University officials heard from Lopez’s church that she was a potential candidate for the Safe At Home service-learning program. The director of this program contacted Lopez in February to hear her story. Lopez welcomed the idea of the ramp project and in two months the contractor and students constructed the ramp she would need after her surgery.

“It was going to be hard for me to (construct a wheelchair ramp) not just financially, but emotionally because I’m not ready to see myself in a wheelchair,” Lopez said. “I am honestly, truly thankful for all the students, the contractor and everyone who came out to do this for me.”

The Safe At Home service learning program, McCoy’s Building Supply and Delbert Howard, contractor, collaborated to donate a wheelchair ramp, a $2,000 value, free of cost to a resident in need once a semester.

Cecil Renick, professor of health administration, is the instructor for Essentials to Healthcare Law class and encourages his students to be a part of this project as an extra credit assignment.

“It gives future health administrators an opportunity to do something for someone who has a need and introduce them to the type of people they will be supporting and helping in their future careers,” Renick said. “Health administration is about how much good you can do for those in need.”

Approximately nine students showed up to help build the ramp. Two were not Renik’s students but participated out of their own interest. The contractor guided the students on the construction of the ramp with the appropriate tools and material donated by McCoy’s.

Lydia McDuffy, radiation therapy junior, is a student in Renick’s class and participates in other service learning projects such as helping the elderly.

“I participated in the ramp project to get more field experience in helping people after something traumatic,” McDuffy said. “I’m changing my major to therapeutic recreation to be able to help more people after something traumatic has happened.”

Potential wheelchair ramp clients can be put on a waitlist, but Lopez was able to acquire Texas State’s help before her surgery.

Lopez said she is extremely thankful and is set for accessibility to her home for after surgery.

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