Jan 18, 2013 7:54 PM by Bill Folsom

Disabled dilemma resolved thanks to Colorado Springs community

From clothes to carriers the baby business is big. The selection is very different for a Colorado Springs mother who is in a wheelchair. For Susanne Whited finding specialized items for baby care can be impossible.

Susanne isn't one to complain. She says "You find your own happiness."
So when she runs into an obstacle she takes the initiative to find another way. For example she can't pull the tabs on disposal diapers because her fingers don't function. She figured out another way to make it work. With a hole punch and a piece of yarn, a loop is created that she puts over her finger and then pulls up and across the diaper to secure the tab.

Despite a positive and creative approach, she recently encountered a dilemma more difficult than she expected. She works from home and needed a custom playpen for her infant. The baby can't yet crawl or stand-up and Susanne can't reach to the floor. "If she ends up on the ground, it's a 911 call," said Susanne.

She envisioned a play pen on a riser with access through side doors. Getting it built quickly became a problem. "The first place told me the only way they could do it is if they went to the state and have an engineer come out and that could cost 25-thousand dollars." It was a similar answer from a string of people she contacted.

"Initially said no," said Bill Rhue. He is the owner of Not Just Oak, a furniture business that commonly builds custom pieces. Rhue then agreed to listen to Susanne's story. After hearing more he started to consider the job. "She's not looking for a handout. She just wanted to take care of her child," he said.

Idea went into action. Rhue's wife who also initially said no, then said they needed to find a way to do this at no charge. It became a community labor of love. Not Just Oak's craftsmen donated the labor and several of their suppliers donated the materials. "It grabs your heart," said Rhue, "Once in a while it's very, very nice to be able to give back to the community.

Susanne wants others to know there are people in our community doing good things. "Somebody who is just stepping up and helping somebody out."



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