April 15, 2024


Elegant home interior

‘George to the Rescue’ renovates young quadriplegic’s Long Island home

In an episode set in Plainview airing Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., WNBC/4’s neighborhood-primarily based renovation demonstrate “George to the Rescue” tackles what contractor-host George Oliphant calls “a herculean exertion like nothing we have ever performed before”: transforming a break up-degree 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 younger quadriplegic lady in a wheelchair.

“We have hardly ever done anything at all to this scale,” says Oliphant, 46, by phone. “This is the second elevator that we’ve set in,” he delivers by way of illustration. “I have performed a great deal of ‘George to the Rescue’s, pretty much 140, and what Joe [Romano of JRM Construction Management, the episode’s renovation partner] did with his group wasn’t just on the inside of, but on the outside as nicely. We actually moved boulders,” he marvels. 

The house is that of Syosset legal professional Scott Koltun, his registered-dietician wife Audrey and their daughter Rebecca, who in March of previous calendar year at age 21 — when a senior at Binghamton University — endured a snowboarding accident at Stratton Mountain in Vermont that paralyzed her from the neck down.

“Christopher Reeve experienced the exact same personal injury,” states Scott Koltun, 62, referring to the famed late actor whose spinal damage right after a 1995 equestrian accident left him a quadriplegic until finally his loss of life nine several years afterwards. Like Reeve, Rebecca “was not affected cognitively,” her father suggests, “Her brain is 100% there.” In contrast to Reeve, who relied on a ventilator to breathe, “Rebecca does not, in element due to the fact of her perseverance and in element for the reason that of this invention referred to as the diaphragmatic pacer. It truly is an electronic implant that contracts her diaphragm for her.”

Design engineering has state-of-the-art as well, claims Oliphant, who recollects that for a 2011 episode featuring a youthful North Carolina paraplegic, “The elevator that we put in was like a common elevator that you would have in an condominium creating, where we had to build a total foundation in the garage and put in a shaft and all that things. But with the a person we did for Rebecca, this is a gorgeous glass elevator that we were equipped to put on the wall.” And apart from no matter what perform was wanted to set up a motor and other mechanics, he says, “We practically just minimize a hole in their ceiling.”

Beyond this sort of utilitarian renovations, the challenge also was designed “to give Rebecca as a lot independence as humanly attainable,” Oliphant says. “We required to give her place in which she can be with her friends and away from her dad and mom. And we produced confident the total dwelling was established up so that Rebecca can get all around and the relatives feels snug. She has her privateness and independence but also room where by they can all be with each other.”

Even with the show’s donated elements and labor, nonetheless, the price tag of Rebecca’s treatment “will most likely exceed $1 million in out-of-pocket expenditures,” in accordance to a crowdfunder at helphopelive.org/marketing campaign/18533/. Whilst legal professional Scott Koltun takes place to focus in insurance and liability legislation, even he has found the insurance policy method daunting.

“The fundraising is important because the insurance plan firms that profit anyone like Rebecca are extremely reticent to provide [the coverage for] the treatment she demands,” he claims. “Their small business is, they will not give up just about anything unless they are pushed.”