Joseph, who is on an able-bodied swim team, and likes to ski, carve and fly-fish, has had 39 surgeries. He was diagnosed with cloacal exstrophy, spina bifida and chiari malformation.
After his teacher Suzanne Nesbit made a documentary of the lack of access in Joseph's home to send to Oprah, local school officials and community members who viewed it decided not to wait. They found help to build a room with access for Joseph from Rebuilding Together. The project, slated to cost $100,000, is called A Safe Haven.
The aim of the addition is to make Joseph's living quarters accessible in every way.
A custom-made shower is part of the plans. A washing machine, dryer, stovetop and microwave will be at a level he can reach, and the rooms will be designed so he will always have enough space to turn his wheelchair around.
"This will be a place for him to live independently," said Warren, who will be recruiting volunteers once the project is closer to completion. "Joseph sells this project himself. He and his family have overcome so much, and everybody's embracing it as an opportunity to do something beyond themselves."
All this is huge for Joseph, who seems to have architect Lynn Walker's blueprints memorized. With great detail, he can reel off with preciseness what will be in each of the 1800 square feet of the addition.
His eyes beam as he rehearses the architectural plans."I will be able to bring my wheelchair into my room," said Joseph, who presently must be carried up the stairs each day. "And I'll finally be able to close my own door." via newsleader.com