Dani Davis-Robeson sat in her wheelchair on her porch, as she watched volunteers lay the final touches of an incline on Jan. 15.
“I never thought I’d get a wheelchair ramp,” said Davis-Robeson, behind tears.
It’s been a year since Davis-Robeson took the wheelchair from her van, unable to use it at her San Juan Island home. That day, volunteers like Don Bryan from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church removed it for her, before they finished the ramp.
“There are just a couple guys at church who are good with hammers,” said Bryan, who’s been pastor of the 45-person congregation for six years.
The volunteer opportunity was formed through a recently launched Family Resource Center program called Island Neighbors, which connects volunteers to community members in need. This is the first volunteer opportunity the church has done through the program. Island Neighbors currently has six volunteers and seven people on the list for services.
It’s been 12 years and hundreds of injuries since Davis-Robeson was first diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that makes joints loose and skin elastic. The disease’s collagen defect causes her to easily dislocate joints, like her knee, which she unhinged the week prior. She can usually stand for intervals of time, despite her chronic pain and hypermobility, but for now, she’s in her wheelchair.
It’s just in time for the ramp to be complete, after 55 hours of labor and seven people working on it.
“They are tireless workers,” said Davis-Robeson. “Who spends their spare time to change someone else’s life for the better?”