In an episode set in Plainview airing Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., WNBC/4’s group-primarily based renovation display “George to the Rescue” tackles what contractor-host George Oliphant phone calls “a herculean work like practically nothing we’ve ever performed just before”: reworking a split-level ranch house on a hill, with a steep driveway and 16 stairs to the front doorway, into a dwelling with a great deal of accessibility for a youthful quadriplegic girl in a wheelchair.
“We’ve never done everything to this scale,” claims Oliphant, 46, by cellphone. “This is the second elevator that we have put in,” he delivers by way of case in point. “I’ve carried out a large amount of ‘George to the Rescue’s, virtually 140, and what Joe [Romano of JRM Construction Management, the episode’s renovation partner] did with his workforce was not just on the inside, but on the outdoors as well. We basically moved boulders,” he marvels.
The household is that of Syosset attorney Scott Koltun, his registered-dietician spouse Audrey and their daughter Rebecca, who in March of previous calendar year at age 21 — while a senior at Binghamton University — suffered a skiing incident at Stratton Mountain in Vermont that paralyzed her from the neck down.
“Christopher Reeve experienced the similar injuries,” states Scott Koltun, 62, referring to the famed late actor whose spinal injury right after a 1995 equestrian incident still left him a quadriplegic until finally his loss of life nine several years later on. Like Reeve, Rebecca “was not influenced cognitively,” her father suggests, “Her mind is 100% there.” Contrary to Reeve, who relied on a ventilator to breathe, “Rebecca does not, in component mainly because of her perseverance and in part since of this invention termed the diaphragmatic pacer. It’s an digital implant that contracts her diaphragm for her.”
Design technological know-how has state-of-the-art as well, states Oliphant, who recalls that for a 2011 episode that includes a youthful North Carolina paraplegic, “The elevator that we place in was like a standard elevator that you would have in an condominium constructing, exactly where we experienced to create a complete basis in the garage and set in a shaft and all that stuff. But with the just one we did for Rebecca, this is a attractive glass elevator that we have been equipped to place on the wall.” And apart from no matter what function was desired to set up a motor and other mechanics, he says, “We practically just slash a hole in their ceiling.”
Outside of these kinds of utilitarian renovations, the venture also was designed “to give Rebecca as a lot independence as humanly achievable,” Oliphant states. “We wished to give her space the place she can be with her buddies and absent from her parents. And we made absolutely sure the overall residence was established up so that Rebecca can get around and the family members feels relaxed. She has her privateness and independence but also space where by they can all be together.”
Even with the show’s donated materials and labor, nevertheless, the charge of Rebecca’s care “will very likely exceed $1 million in out-of-pocket bills,” in accordance to a crowdfunder at helphopelive.org/campaign/18533/. When legal professional Scott Koltun transpires to focus in insurance coverage and legal responsibility legislation, even he has uncovered the insurance policy system overwhelming.
“The fundraising is needed mainly because the insurance policy corporations that reward a person like Rebecca are very reticent to offer [the coverage for] the treatment she needs,” he says. “Their small business is, they really don’t give up anything except if they’re pushed.”