Lee BIA Builders Care Constructs Wheelchair Ramp for Family in Need


Charlie and Barbara Sands

Charlie and Barbara have lived in their North Fort Myers home since 1991 and have been together for 21 years. They have a family of four daughters and many grandchildren. In 2004, Charlie suffered a heart attack which was followed by several more occurrences that have limited his ability to work.

In early 2015, Barbara was involved in a fall that resulted in a broken back and several vertebrae in her neck. She underwent surgery to address the fall. Complications from surgery resulted in spinal fluid leaking into her body, causing her to become very ill and consequently, a several month stay in the hospital. Since the accident, Barbara has been diagnosed with ALS, which may have been an underlying factor associated with her fall.

Today, Barbara is extremely immobile because of her condition. She is unable to leave her home due to limited use of most of her body. Charlie, whom has suffered multiple heart attacks, would carry her from the house to the car in order to attend routine doctors appointments.

With the help of supporting partners, donors and volunteers, Lee BIA Builders Care was able to assist with the construction of a wheelchair ramp to aid the Sands family on Tuesday, May 3. With the loss of some of her senses, the simple things are what are important. The construction of the ramp now allows increased mobility for Barbara to get out of the house and smell her Jasmine plants. Charlie is also now able to more easily get her to appointments and outside to get some sunshine.

New ramp to provide Barbara with increased mobility.
Builders Care volunteers reconstruct existing rotting ramp for the Sands family.

“We are so happy we were able to make life just a little easier for the Sands,” said Christi Pritchett Sarlo, executive director of Builders Care.

This project would not have been possible without the help of our sponsors, donors, and volunteers including: West Coast Structural Concrete & Masonry, Nilles Design Group, Gulf Coast Engineering, Tibbetts Lumber Company, LLC, Raymond Building Supply, Grabber Construction Products, Inc., Garden Street Portables, Waste Pro and Toll Brothers.

Builders Care is the nonprofit charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA). Its objective is to provide emergency repairs and construction services to elderly, disabled and economically disadvantaged people who are unable to obtain home repairs through traditional means. To date, Lee BIA Builders Care has put more than $3.8 million in construction services back into the community at no cost to homeowners in need.  Builders Care enlists the volunteer services of Lee BIA members and leverages grants and donated materials to provide construction and remodeling services to qualified homeowners throughout Lee County. Certified Building Partners include Stock Development and Minto Communities. Major supporters include Cape Coral Plumbing, Ferguson Enterprises, Nilles Design Group, Priority Marketing of Southwest Florida, Sunset Air and The Aubuchon Team of Companies. Builders Care is headquartered at the Lee BIA offices at 10501 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy., Suite 118 in Fort Myers. The Building Industry Association (www.BIA.net) is a 50-year-old association affiliated with National Home Builders Association and Florida Home Builders Association to serve the local building and related industries to strengthen our community by advancing a professional building industry through advocacy, education and services. Donations can be made online at www.LeeBuildersCare.org, or to the Builders Care general fund at BB&T Page Field branch at 4959 South Cleveland Ave. in Fort Myers. More information is available by calling 239-938-0056. Follow Builders Care at www.facebook.com/LeeBuildersCare and Twitter@LeeBuildersCare.