Volunteers build wheelchair ramps for young Pasco twins

PASCO, Wash. (KVEW-TV) -- Dozens of volunteers joined together Saturday to help build two wheelchair ramps for a Pasco family in need.

[Watch full video on KAPP-KVEW's Facebook page.]

The Ramos family’s 3-year-old fraternal twins, Harper and Hendrix, were diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) in 2015. The genetic disorder gradually degenerates muscles, taking away one’s ability to walk or move easily.

However, these twins are still full of energy.

“Pew pew pew!” laughs Harper, pointing his brightly colored toy Styrofoam pellet gun up at the camera.

“They’re champs, you know?” mother Crystal Ramos says. “Always with a smile on their face. They’re like, ‘yeah, we’re okay, we’re good!”

However, the Ramos’s Pasco home was not built with wheelchair access in mind.

“Those things are 500 pounds,” explains Crystal. “So we can’t carry those.”

For this reason, neighbors decided to help.

One with connections to the Richland nonprofit, Rebuilding Mid-Columbia, got the ball rolling.

“[They said] we have this family that’s in need of ramps for the two boys,” says Crystal. “And from there it all just took off.”

The project came to fruition Saturday.

Just outside Crystal’s front window, multiple groups of volunteers were hard at work, building a set a ramps up to the front door.

Carpenters Local 59, high school students from Tri-Tech, and local companies such as Avela all lent a hand, tools, and materials to get the job done.

“The materials alone are over $2,000,” explains John Veysey, board president for Rebuilding Mid-Columbia. “Labor, probably at least the same, so I’d say well over 5,000.”

The nonprofit says it focuses on improving the living situations of families living with financial difficulty or other challenges.

The Ramos family is one of dozens.

“We have a backlog of about 30 families or so needing help now,” explains Veysey. “So we are just working to raise the funds to make those happen.”

Crystal says the ramps are one of several projects the community has helped with, the family currently in talks with a wheelchair company to provide new chairs and a construction company planning to remodel her bathroom for the twin’s access.

“We’re overwhelmed, but blessed. Beyond blessed,” says Crystal gratefully. “We know there’s a lot of other people who need [help] also, so we usually are the quiet ones that say everybody else first. But [these groups] took it upon themselves.”

The Ramos family says within the next year, it hopes to launch its own nonprofit to help other families impacted by SMA.

For now, the family posts updates and resources people can donate to or learn from on a Facebook page called Harper & Hendrix Strong.

More information on SMA can also be found on curesma.org.