Family, friends work to remodel home after Lacey teen’s car crash

Staff writerDecember 14, 2013 

Family and friends are scrambling to remodel the home of a Lacey teen recovering from a car crash.

On Oct. 12, Skylar Seward was one of seven local teens injured in a one-car crash after the driver veered off Interstate 5 in DuPont. All seven of the Timberline High School students survived.

A spinal cord injury has paralyzed Seward, 16, from the chest down. Wednesday, she will come home from Seattle Children’s Hospital.

This weekend, volunteers are working to make Seward’s house more wheelchair-accessible.

From new carpet to wider doorways, the renovations will allow her more mobility on the ground floor. One room will be converted into a bathroom with a roll-in shower. Skylar’s bed and medical equipment will be in an adjacent room. Crews will install carpet and revamp an upstairs bedroom as the family of five adapts to the new living arrangements.

Seward’s aunt, Kim Hauss, said the outpouring of support for “Operation Skylar Homecoming” has been a blessing. A Facebook page titled Skylar Seward Caring and Sharing (facebook.com/SkylarSewardCaring) keeps the community updated on the teenager’s progress. The page includes a link to an online fundraising account that has netted $8,750 so far.

In addition to ramps at the entrances to their Lacey home, the Seward family will need a van with a wheelchair lift. Hauss said Skylar’s parents recently test-drove a used van that costs $35,000.

Aside from the remodel, Hauss said her other top priority is to ensure Skylar arrives home in a van, not an ambulance.

“There’s still time for a Christmas miracle,” she said.

On Friday, Hauss got teary-eyed while watching a crew from Home Depot rip up the old flooring in the living room. The previous day, she met the three-person crew’s leader, Andrew Wickert. Less than 24 hours later, Wickert was hard at work — on his day off.

Word about the family’s situation mobilized volunteers, including friend Gini Lee Kalkwarf, who drove down Saturday from Port Orchard to do whatever needed to be done to fix the house quickly.

“It will be a fresh start for everyone,” Kalkwarf said.

Members of Grace Covenant Community Church in Lacey offered donations and small acts of kindness — including a $500 Lowe’s gift card. Other notable donors of materials and labor include Olympia Construction, Rodda Paint Co., Keith Porter Construction, Olympia Blinds, Woodshed Furniture and Sherwin Williams.

All told, Hauss said the remodeled home will help her sister, Char Seward, focus on caring for the teen during her recovery.

“Instead of seeing all of the things that need to be done and could add to the burden, she will be blown away by what people did and feel empowered,” Hauss said. “I want her to feel the love of the community. People like to love on other people.”

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869
ahobbs@theolympian.com
@andyhobbs

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