Crowdfunding effort for St. Paul woman's wheelchair ramp ends in success

Just before Christmas, we profiled Deb Blakeway, a St. Paul woman who was hoping that a crowdfunding campaign would help her install a wheelchair ramp at her residence and thereby regain some independence.

Viewers responded, and the needed money, materials, and volunteers was obtained within a day.

Now, the work is done.

"'Freedom' is the word I would say first, but... independence, independence," Blakeway says.

Rendered immobile while recovering from surgery to correct a long-term neurological problem, Blakeway had to give up her Golden Retriever, Madison, as she was unable to take the dog outside. But with work on the ramp mostly wrapped up, Madison will return home within the next week or so.

Contractor Jon Rol volunteered time and tools to help Blakeway out.

"I saw your story on the news about needing volunteers to come out here," Rol says. "I thought, this is something that I've done before, and I could be a help."

The materials were donated too, and the pre-built ramp sections were installed quickly.

In the end, it means Deb can be sailing her way to rehabilitation quickly thanks to a ramp she'd never be able to afford on her own.

"A lot of friends stepped up," Blakeway says. "A lot of people I don't know stepped up. It was pretty phenomenal."

The ramp was almost entirely installed today. A few finishing touches, like the balusters, will be polished off tomorrow.
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