‘George to the Rescue’ renovates young quadriplegic’s Long Island home

In an episode set in Plainview airing Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., WNBC/4’s local community-based renovation exhibit “George to the Rescue” tackles what contractor-host George Oliphant calls “a herculean work like almost nothing we’ve ever carried out ahead of”: transforming a break up-level ranch residence on a hill, with a steep driveway and 16 stairs to the front door, into a household with loads of accessibility for a young quadriplegic girl in a wheelchair.

“We’ve never ever done just about anything to this scale,” states Oliphant, 46, by mobile phone. “This is the second elevator that we have place in,” he gives by way of illustration. “I’ve done a good deal of ‘George to the Rescue’s, just about 140, and what Joe [Romano of JRM Construction Management, the episode’s renovation partner] did with his group was not just on the inside, but on the outside as properly. We virtually moved boulders,” he marvels. 

The dwelling is that of Syosset legal professional Scott Koltun, his registered-dietician wife Audrey and their daughter Rebecca, who in March of last yr at age 21 — though a senior at Binghamton College — endured a skiing incident at Stratton Mountain in Vermont that paralyzed her from the neck down.

“Christopher Reeve experienced the identical injury,” says Scott Koltun, 62, referring to the famed late actor whose spinal hurt soon after a 1995 equestrian incident left him a quadriplegic right up until his demise nine a long time afterwards. Like Reeve, Rebecca “was not influenced cognitively,” her father states, “Her mind is 100% there.” Not like Reeve, who relied on a ventilator to breathe, “Rebecca does not, in aspect because of her determination and in part since of this invention named the diaphragmatic pacer. It’s an electronic implant that contracts her diaphragm for her.”

Design engineering has highly developed as nicely, says Oliphant, who recollects that for a 2011 episode showcasing a youthful North Carolina paraplegic, “The elevator that we place in was like a classic elevator that you would have in an apartment setting up, where we experienced to develop a total basis in the garage and place in a shaft and all that stuff. But with the just one we did for Rebecca, this is a gorgeous glass elevator that we were being ready to place on the wall.” And aside from whatsoever function was essential to put in a motor and other mechanics, he claims, “We literally just minimize a hole in their ceiling.”

Beyond this kind of utilitarian renovations, the task also was developed “to give Rebecca as substantially independence as humanly probable,” Oliphant states. “We required to give her area wherever she can be with her good friends and absent from her moms and dads. And we created confident the overall home was established up so that Rebecca can get all over and the family feels snug. She has her privacy and independence but also place in which they can all be collectively.”

Even with the show’s donated components and labor, however, the price of Rebecca’s care “will possible exceed $1 million in out-of-pocket bills,” in accordance to a crowdfunder at helphopelive.org/marketing campaign/18533/. Whilst legal professional Scott Koltun comes about to specialize in insurance coverage and legal responsibility law, even he has found the insurance coverage process challenging.

“The fundraising is necessary because the insurance coverage corporations that gain someone like Rebecca are very reticent to supply [the coverage for] the treatment she desires,” he suggests. “Their company is, they you should not give up nearly anything until they’re pushed.”

Barbara G. Arnold

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