Theresa Rowden of Ennis can rest a little easier these days knowing that the difficulties she faces in simple day to day tasks will soon be a lot easier thanks to the Lions Clubs of Waxahachie, Ennis and Midlothian as well as Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County.
Rowden has been selected to receive a custom built home equipped with the features she needs to manage everyday life from her wheelchair. The new home is being made possible through a joint effort of the Lions Clubs in Ennis, Waxahachie and Midlothian to receive a $12,500 dollar grant that will be matched by Habitat for Humanity.
“There is a partnership between Lions Club International and Habitat for Humanity International, both parties review the case but the local affiliates actually apply for the grant funding. The Lions contribute half of the necessary funds and then we match that,” said Ellis County Habitat for Humanity spokesperson, Kathy Rushing.
The home will allow Rowden some freedom that she currently is living without. Rowden suffers from a cyst in her spinal cord and is not a candidate for surgery due to the complex nature of the injury and not being strong enough to undergo surgery.
“Most people just don’t understand what the house will mean to me. I will be able to take care of myself and my family with a lot less struggle than I am right now. I am currently renting and the facility is just not made for someone in a wheelchair. The apartment is handicap accessible, which means it just needs to have a wheelchair ramp, but wheelchair accessibility is much different. The appliances and cabinets in the house will be lower so I will be able to cook safely, which I can’t do right now. I’m very excited to get back a little piece of what most everyone takes for granted,” said Rowden.
Rowden considers the new home and the organizations that are helping her, a blessing and hopes that more people will get involved with the agencies.
“I have just been so fortunate with both agencies that are helping me; they are great and worked with me to make things happen. They will help anyone that needs it but you have to want to help yourself,” said Rowden.
Rowden has worked with Habitat for Humanity and put in 250 hours of volunteer time to qualify for the home she will be receiving. The program requires “sweat equity” from the home recipient, allowing the home owner to be part of the process and to give back to the organization while benefiting at the same time.
“It has been a rough few years for me but good things are coming my way,” said Rowden. She is also asking for assistance with a van that has disability features so she can move toward a greater sense of freedom in her every day activities. Currently, she relies on friends and family for any transportation needs her and her family has.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for the house and construction is scheduled to begin around the end of May.
Volunteers are needed to help with the construction and anyone wishing to get involved can contact Ellis County Habitat for Humanity at (972) 937-3182, the Waxahachie Lions Club at (972) 938-4300 or the Ennis Lions Club at (972) 878-6306.