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'It became a reality;' East Lansing family completes ADA accessible bathroom for their daughter

Jaimes family bathroom
Posted at 4:50 PM, Aug 15, 2023

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Earlier this summer, we told you about the Jaimes family in East Lansing who were in need of an accessible bathroom for their daughter Jaslene. Now, that dream has come true.

Jaslene Jaimes was born with a medical condition that affects her physical ability. The family bought their ranch-style home in 2022, but as Jaslene got older and had to have surgery, the bathroom in their home was no longer feasible.

“Our former bathroom was a 1954 bathroom, and so that was like pre-ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act," Paty Jaimes said. "It was just not accessible. The doorway was so narrow that Jaslene's wheelchair and her medical equipment, they could not get through the door.”

They had a dream of transforming the bathroom, but Paty was met with many road blocks for funding.

"There's this misconception that people have that there's a lot of resources and funding and opportunities available for people with disabilities or or caregivers of loved ones," Paty said. "What they don't know is that trying to obtain this funding, these resources that are supposedly out there, is impossible."

That's when Renee Olance, Jaslene's former teacher, decided to step in and create a GoFundMe to raise money for renovations.

“Starting the GoFundMe was just the right thing to do,” Renee said.

By the end of June, that dream was coming true.

“We started off with a dream of knowing that this bathroom had to become a reality for Jaslene, and we put our heart and soul into it," Renee said. "As a result of so many people's kind hearts and generosity, it became a reality.”

The 1954-style bathroom was transformed into a wet bathroom with an open and barrier free space. The doorway that once couldn't fit Jaslene's wheelchair was widened from two feet to over three, and all of this was done in the same square footage of the bathroom that already existed.

“She can easily wash her hands and just participate in a lot of the bathroom process," Paty said. "Brushing her teeth, and there's a toilet like any other bathroom, and then we have roll-in shower."

Now, this open space allows Jaslene to have her independence back.

“For her to all of a sudden be able to use the bathroom and have a shower and just use the bathroom for anything she needs, just I mean, I can't, it's so hard to describe," Renee said. "My heart is just so full because this is exactly what she should have.”

Allowing her to have a basic right in her home that so many of us take advantage of.

“If you don't live or know somebody that has a disability, it's really hard for you to imagine what what this means because you don't often have to think about not being able to access your bathroom or your house or when you go places," Paty said. "You don't even have to think about these things.”

And it's safe to say that Jaslene loves her new bathroom.

“Thank you so much for making our vision a reality and for making this possible for our our daughter,” Paty said.

Paty, Renee and the Jaimes family want to thank everyone who donated to the GoFundMe that raised $26,977. They would also like to thank Ewen Construction LLC for working with them to make their dream become reality.

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