By Kelly Werthmann
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – What may seem like a small room to some is a big deal for Allyson Mallory.
“It’s a game changer,” she said of her newly remodeled garage.
Allyson loves to entertain family and friends at her Englewood home, but that passion became difficult after a snowboarding accident in Keystone left her paralyzed two years ago.
“I didn’t make a decision quick enough to bail,” Allyson explained. “I hit the ramp, and it threw me into a backflip, and I landed on my back.”
The well-loved principal of Ralph Moody Elementary School has no feeling from the waist down. Just days after her accident, Allyson’s school community rallied around her by hosting fundraisers to help with her recovery and make her house wheelchair-friendly.
“They chipped in and remodeled a lot of the house before I came back from Craig Hospital,” Allyson told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “Doors were widened, carpet was removed and tile was replaced. I just can’t thank the (Littleton Public Schools) and Ralph Moody community enough for doing that.”
Yet Allyson still faced a big obstacle — she didn’t have complete access to her home. And, with medical modifications made to her only bathroom, Allyson said she had anxiety about inviting friends and family to her house.
“The bathroom is already kind of a private part of your house,” she explained. “For me… there are medical bars that are not connected to the wall or just different medical devices that I have to use. It just really puts your disability on display and you just don’t know how people are going to react.”
That’s where the Home Builders Foundation (HBF) comes in — a Denver based nonprofit that modifies homes to make them accessible so that individuals living with a disability can live safe, independent lives. Allyson learned about HBF from a friend, made a request for assistance and the organization unanimously approved the project.
“As an elementary school principal, [Allyson] is giving back teaching young people how to inspire and give back to their community,” Beth Forbes, Executive Director of HBF, said. “We wanted to help be part of her story.”
Sheffield Homes, a long-time supporter of HBF, jumped at the opportunity to help Allyson and oversaw the project. They converted her unfinished, single-car garage into a second bathroom and small “flex room,” along with a concrete ramp to the front door. It’s a $30,000 renovation at no cost to Allyson.
“For us to give back and have an opportunity to give back to somebody who will continue to give back in our community is really what it’s all about,” Beth said.
With the modifications complete, Allyson can now enjoy and access her entire home confidently, and get back to hosting friends and family as she loves to do.
“I feel at home now in my home,” she said to a group of project leaders and volunteers. “Thank you for all you’ve done to rebuild my independence.”
More information from HBF:
The Home Builders Foundation (HBF) is a metro-Denver nonprofit that partners with the homebuilding industry to provide home modifications at no cost for individuals with physical disabilities. Since 1993, the organization has helped nearly 1,600 individuals with disabilities remain in their homes with dignity and independence. The mission of the Home Builders Foundation is to build independence, provide opportunities and elevate lives for individuals and families with disabilities in our community. For more information, visit www.hbfdenver.org.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.