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LIFT working to help others through ramp donations

Reported By: Deven Clarke
Written By: Marc Stempka

ST. MARYS, Pa. -- Back in December, WJAC-TV featured an organization called LIFT, or Life and Independence for Today. The group had started a fundraiser to temporarily provide portable ramps for disabled individuals to be able to come and go from their homes. Over the past seven months, the organization has raised thousands of dollars and has started to help those in need.

LIFT was able to raise $8,000 during that time, and has provided 12 ramps. On Thursday, their fourth ramp was featured at an Elk County home.

Getting in and out of the house isn't as easy as it used to be for Jim and Patricia Weichman. They've been married more than 50 years, and although their love is still strong, Patricia's mobility isn't quite the same it used to be.

"Nine years ago, a little of nine years ago, she succumb to a major stroke," Jim said. "It left her about 90 percent paralyzed in the leg and 100 percent in the right arm."

Jim said Patricia does have the ability to walk with assistance, but leaving and entering their house in St. Marys has been a challenge.

"Up and down the stairs, two or three, is very hard to do. You have to be very careful and watch her," Jim said.

LIFT was created a non-profit organization designed to help out in those types of situations.

Jim and Patricia's daughter, Hope Weichman, who is the deputy director of LIFT, demonstrated the ramps outside of her parent's home.

"We decided to do a fundraiser to raise money to loan out portable ramps to people while we help them to secure a more permanent solution to their needs," Hope said.

The price tag on the ramps range from $500 to $750, Hope said. Since December, the $8,000 raised has help people in situations like Jim and Patricia regain some independence.

"We've been getting donations from the public, from businesses, from several clubs throughout the area, and anybody who has donated $50 or more, their name goes on a plaque attached to the bottom of the ramp," Hope said.

With the fourth one now in service, LIFT now have eight others that can be used to help others.

LIFT allows a three-month borrowing limit at no charge. Anyone in need of a ramp can contact LIFT at 503 E. Arch St. St. Marys, PA 15857 or at 814-781-3050 ext. 200.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times