Gabby Valdez

Gabby Valdez

Getting ready for school each morning for any mother is stressful, but imagine having to brave cold, rainy, or snowy conditions with one hand gripping a backpack and one holding your daughter while transporting her to a wheelchair housed in a shed due to lack of accessibility in the home. This was a reality for Gabby Valdez and her mother, Christina. Racing to get her daughter secured in her chair before the school bus left her was an added barrier Christina faced.

Mornings around the house flow better now thanks to a temporary ramp funded by the Ohio Department of Medicaid’s Temporary Ramp Program. Christina packs her bags and Gabby is on her way.

Born at 23 weeks, Gabby weighed in at 1 lb., 4.5 oz. and spent her first eight months in the neonatal intensive care unit. Gabby arrived so early, her parents had no name picked out for her. Medical professionals told Christina her daughter would never walk and would likely need to be institutionalized. Christina confesses, “I want her to do things they said she would never do.”

Today, Gabby finds herself able to stand and walk short distances. She communicates with her eyes, and expresses happiness by clapping.

Our carpenter team were even blown kisses as they assembled her ramp. Gabby’s case manager at Paramount referred the family to The Ability Center’s Home Accessibility Program and soon discovered life-changing resources were right at their fingertips. Designed to support Gabby as she grows, her ramp will enrich her daily life, granting her more time to just be a kid. “Awesome, helpful, and understanding” are words Christina associates with her experience with our Home Accessibility Program. “It’s a big stress reliever, and Gabby picks up on it” reveals Christina. Home is now safer and more accessible.

More moments are shared around the dinner table now that she is able to use her wheelchair in the home. Daily improvements provide a big impact for her development.Looking to your left you see the smile captured on her face, testing out her new ramp. What you won’t see is Gabby’s increased feeling of freedom and confidence that will benefit her for years to come.

The Ability Center celebrates another young life impacted by our programming. Seeing our mission fulfilled firsthand makes us proud to do what we do.This new ramp has transformed the way the family lives and built a foundation for Gabby to become more independent.