May 22, 2020 | News | No Comments
NEW LENOX, IL — The New Lenox community recently rallied around a family in need to build a wheelchair ramp for a 12-year-old girl with spina bifida. Lily Villani has had 13 surgeries throughout her life, and now at age 12, she is getting too heavy for her mom, Christine, to carry into the house.
At first, Christine reached out via Facebook in December after resident Maureen Carrigan posted about helping people by donating items no longer used or needed. Christine said she was looking for something extra special for her kids this year for Christmas, since the family was facing tough times.
Christine had recently gotten estimates for a wheelchair ramp, and learned that it would cost several thousand dollars to be installed. In her conversation with Carrigan, Christine mentioned how she was looking at getting a ramp built.
Carrigan immediately offered to put a post on the neighborhood Facebook page to get people together to build a ramp.
Carrigan said she posted: “Asking for a community member. Is there an organization that will assist with the cost to build a wheelchair ramp for a child? Her child is getting too heavy for her to carry up the stairs.”
And the community answered.
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“All I did was make a little post asking the same question — it all fell into place from there. Many people were asking where to donate, guys were asking when and where to show up to build it. A few ladies volunteered to cook lunch, bring coffee and donuts — Lowe’s offered a discount on the materials,” Carrigan said.
“The responses were so amazing,” Christine said.
The ramp was quickly completed with the help of volunteers before Christmas. Christine said now Lily doesn’t even wait for her to get out of the car, she just wheels herself up the ramp and into the house.
“It was just amazing,” Christine said. “It took me a long time to believe [the ramp] was still there.”
At the village board meeting Jan. 27, Mayor Tim Baldermann recognized the volunteers who helped spread the word about the need of the family and helped install the ramp.
“It’s the people in this community that make New Lenox such a great place,” Baldermann said.
The Villani family was also present at the village board meeting, and Christine shared her appreciation for all the volunteers.
“Thank you for building my ramp and making my life easier,” Lily said at the meeting.