Mom determined to get ramp back

April 17, 2008 7:14:36 PM PDT
Someone has stolen a ramp used by a single mom to get her 5-year-old wheelchair-bound son in and out of the house. To make matters worse, the theft happened on Easter Sunday.

Michelle Brantley of Richmond has been caring for her son on her own, every day since he was born. The prospect of being without the wheelchair ramp for a long time frightened her.

Michelle Brantley securely fastens her son Isaiah into his wheelchair stroller. Just getting him up the stairs and into the home is a struggle these days.

A 10-foot long wheelchair ramp used to make this journey much easier. But someone stole it Easter Sunday.

"To steal a ramp from anybody it's just evil. That's cold," said Michelle Brantley from Richmond.

The ramp is not just a necessity, it represents freedom for Isaiah.

The chief therapist of California Children's Services in Contra Costa County explains.

"Without the wheelchair and without the wheelchair ramp, Isaiah would be home bound," said Sharon White from California Children's Services in Contra Costa County.

But replacing the ramp would cost over $900 dollars.

A county worker told Michelle it could take Medi-Cal several months to replace it.

"Even just two days ago I almost dropped him trying to carry him up the stairs," said Brantley.

And that wasn't Michelle's only dilemma. Her landlord didn't pay The PG&E bill and the utility shut off the gas.

7 On Your Side alerted PG&E of Michelle's situation.

"And thanks to you, when you called them, PG&E, when you called them, decided to turn the gas back on," said Brantley.

But there was still the issue of the wheelchair ramp and the expected long wait. So 7 On Your Side called the state and the county.

"We did get some additional phone calls from yourself and in checking on that, we were able to make sure it was authorized yesterday," said Chief pediatric therapist Sharon White.

And within a few days, the 10 foot long runway to freedom arrived.

"I'm happy. I'm happy to get it back. I don't have to keep carrying my son up and down the steps," said Brantley. "To Isaiah, well I mean he's content either way. I mean he's comfortable in his chair. So just a free ride for him is fine," she said.

Michelle isn't taking any chances. When she's not using the 65 pound ramp, she's picking it up and putting it in storage until landlord is able to help her bolt it down into the concrete.


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