Zoe Grisez and her family recently relocated from Colorado Springs to Denver to pursue Zoe’s dream of attending college. Zoe has worked hard to earn her way into college as a first-generation student in her family. She turned down opportunities out of state due to the lack of medical coverage for caregivers and opted for an amazing program at University of Denver where she will be in their Honors Program and will also spend 4 years as a Puksta Scholar developing a social justice action plan that centers on disability access and inclusion in the community.
As a young adult living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy – a genetic, progressive neuromuscular disease – Zoe is completely dependent on her power wheelchair for mobility and requires a caregiver. For these transitions – home, school, caregiver team – to be possible, Zoe’s family home must also be modified. Her family reached out and applied with the Home Builders Foundation, a metro-Denver based nonprofit that builds independence for those living with disabilities through home modifications. After receiving the application, Zoe’s family was visited by staff and volunteers to assess the project. From there, HBF began sourcing a Project Captain to complete the work. Zoe’s application came while the HBF was accepting clients for its 9th Annual Blitz Build in August. Two of HBF’s partners, Accessible Systems and Ferguson Enterprises, completed the ramps for Zoe.
Zoe’s ramps were the first step to increasing her safety and independence, and positively impacting her caregiver team. The ramps allowed her to successfully transition into the university environment and provide a safe place to return home. The next step was an accessible bathroom remodel, which was completed by Saddleback Design in October. The total retail value of the modifications for Zoe exceeded $20,000, but thanks to the generous donations of material and labor by HBF supporters it was completed at no cost to Zoe or her family.