Lee BIA Builders Care provides Life-Changing Bathroom for Disabled Homeowner


Recently, Lee BIA Builders Care and community partners joined forces to provide life-changing bathroom modifications for a disabled homeowner in need.

Loretta Furtado, age 72, is an elderly and disabled homeowner who resides in Fort Myers. Originally from Massachusetts, Loretta and her husband Fred moved to Florida to enjoy the sunshine state.

Loretta suffers from Paget’s disease, a chronic bone disease that interferes with the body’s normal recycling process of bone tissue. Over time, it can cause affected bones to become fragile and misshapen. In some cases, amputation may be necessary, which became the case for Loretta.

In 2014, Loretta’s right leg was amputated.  During this time, her body became infected with MRSA and she was hospitalized for 54 days. As many know, MRSA is a tricky bacteria that causes infections in the body. Loretta’s symptoms were gradual. In 2017, she learned that bacterial strands from the MSRA had spread to critical areas in her body and her left toes had to be amputated.

Loretta, now wheelchair-bound, was unable to walk or perform daily activities independently. She relied on the aid of her husband, who assisted her in all daily activities and became her primary caretaker. In 2018, Loretta’s world was turned upside down when Fred passed away unexpectedly. She was now living alone and faced many challenges in her daily activities. Most critical, the bathroom in the home was not handicap accessible and she had a very difficult time stepping over the bathtub to get into her shower chair. Loretta had fallen numerous times when attempting to bathe and an accessible bathroom was clearly needed. Unfortunately, Loretta’s fixed income would not allow her the luxury of making any type of modifications and as a result, her health and safety were at risk. These unexpected circumstances took a toll on Loretta over time and she wasn’t quite sure where to turn.

After learning about Ms. Furtado, Lee BIA Builders Care, Beattie Development, and community partners coordinated efforts and surprised Loretta with the life-changing gift of an accessible bathroom. By removing the existing bathtub and replacing it with an accessible roll-in shower, Loretta can now bathe safely, comfortably, and with ease.

“When two young ladies interviewed me around two years ago, never did I imagine the happiness I would now have. As a total leg amputee, bathing was almost impossible in my small bathroom with a tub. I now have an absolutely, completely accessible bathroom that is so beautiful! Just as important were the many contractors who worked so hard to make this possible. Each one was so kind to me. Each one of you, are so important to our world, especially now. Thank each one of you, for changing my life for the better. You are all in my prayers. Respectfully, Loretta Furtado”

All renovations were performed at no cost, thanks to the support of the Allegretti Foundation and community partners. These accommodations are a life-changing blessing that will significantly improve Loretta’s health, safety, and overall well-being forever. Project Partners included: Beattie Development, Nilles Design Group, Mike Carroll LLC. Cape Coral Plumbing, Wayne Wiles and Phoenix Electric.

About Lee BIA Builders Care

The mission of Lee BIA Builders Care is to provide emergency construction services at no cost to needy and deserving elderly and/or disabled homeowners, and their families, who cannot obtain repairs through traditional means. Lee BIA Builders Care offers a full range of no-cost emergency construction services to improve the safety and health for needy seniors and disabled individuals of all ages by enlisting the expertise and donated services and materials of contractors, sub-contractors and businesses. To date, Lee BIA Builders Care has put more than $4.75 million in construction services back into the community at no cost to homeowners in need. Builders Care is funded through financial donations, grants and donated services and materials to provide emergency construction services to qualified homeowners throughout the community. Lee BIA Builders Care is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization under the charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association. Lee BIA Builders Care is headquartered at 6835 International Center Blvd. #4 in Fort Myers. Donations can be made online at www.LeeBuildersCare.org. More information is available by calling 239-938-0056, and by following Builders Care at www.Facebook.com/LeeBuildersCare.