Do you guys remember on November 2, 2016 I asked here if anyone knew of someone who might be able to help build Ruby a motorized chair like she had been using in therapy?
Dozens and dozens of you graciously responded, shared the post and asked others!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reaching out, for asking loved ones and for even volunteering your own husbands – Ha!!! You guys truly are the best!!
Early into all the replies I received an email from a young man named Grant who had gotten a text from a blog friend of mine named Julie (who lives in Illinois!). Grant wrote to say that he was an Engineering student at Grand Canyon University (GCU), right here in Phoenix (where Dw was also a part-time professor) and had heard of our need and wondered if I could send him the plans.
Grant wrote back shortly after and said that after looking at the plans, he thought he and some friends could build it! He was local and that seemed like the very best idea!! With Grant being “around the corner” if there were any questions, concerns or possible modifications they could be easily addressed.
Grant, friends and classmates worked long, hard hours…and two days ago we had the privilege of going as a family to GCU to have Ruby’s “Motorized Happy Seat” presented to her.
(On a side note: Prayers are being answered as I am regaining strength, stamina and am a whole lot less yellow! I used to be a shade of “Sunflower” but now am a light shade of pale yellow. So truly, it was such a joy to be able to go on my first outing as a family! I admit I sure needed a nap after, but what a blessing!)
Now!! Check out her joy!!
Ruby immediately started pushing the buttons and spinning around in circles. Her therapist had said that just like all kids love to put their arms out and spin around till they fall from dizziness – Ruby wants to be able to spin too!! She spun around and around and around and after probably 10 minutes she stopped and grinning from ear-to-ear announced emphatically, “GOOD!” It was hysterical!!! She approved greatly and loves it!! Her new Happy Seat has opened up so many more possibilities to our sweet chica.
Above: Left: One of Grant’s professor, friend and fellow student, Josh, Ruby, and Grant. I told Ruby to smile and say “hi” …..but she decided to put her hand up and hide instead. It’s her “I’m too shy” gig. What a tease!!
We cannot thank the Lord enough for Grant’s tender, willing and kind heart. He is a hero to us!!
On a personal note, Grant shares his thoughts on it all:
The project is finally done! This is a sort of recap of the project that I have been working on since last November for Ruby Saunders. It’s a pretty long story, but I’d love if you took the time to read it and see how God has worked through my classmates and me to meet a need!
This project started back on November 2, 2016. I was on my way to my Biology lab when I got a text from Julie Rolffs, a close family friend, recommending that I read a blog post by Linny Saunders. (The post can be found by going to placecalledsimplicity.com and searching the word “Ruby”). As I got into lab, I found out that we had run out of the necessary chemicals and the lab was going to be postponed until the next week. This gave me time to sit down and look at the blog post. In summation, the post was requesting a motorized wheelchair of sorts for her adopted daughter Ruby Saunders. Ruby has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and multiloculated hydrocephalus. This strongly inhibits her motor function, and she has been bound to a wheelchair. However, her family found a cerebral palsy therapy center which was using this chair to allow children to gain some mobility of their own. Linny was requesting a version of this chair that Ruby would be able to take home and continue gaining mobility.
If you know me, you know that I love solving problems and doing basically anything that involves building something, and I immediately sent Linny an e-mail saying that I would be glad to build the chair for Ruby. She responded with an instructional document that she had been given by the creator of the original chair, and it seemed straightforward, so I began working on it. To put it simply, the instructions that I assumed were complete, were not at all, and much of the chair had to be redesigned. Since I had absolutely no clue what I was doing at that point, I went to the IEEE (Electrical Engineering) Club at GCU and asked for any help that I could get. It turned out that the group was needing a project to work on, and we began working to get this chair done.
As we began the process of designing the chair, ordering parts, and assembling our design, we had to do a lot of research as we were only first or second year engineering students with little practical knowledge concerning the parts needed for the project. This process took a very long time. In retrospect, I wish that we would have done it faster, but we all were able to experience the difficulties of designing and implementing a new project. As the school year ended, we were incredibly close to completing the project, but it required some additional work with professors at GCU and South Mountain Community College. The chair was finally working on May 8th. It has taken some time to make sure that it is complete and ready to be used, but we were finally able to deliver it today.
Today was amazing! We didn’t quite know if she would end up using the chair to move while we were there. However, once she got in the chair, she wouldn’t stop moving! It was amazing to finally see this project come to fruition and to have such a lasting impact on the life of someone else. I am very grateful to my classmates, family, friends, and faculty members who provided their time, help, and encouragement throughout this entire process.
Overall, this project that I originally anticipated would take a weekend took seven months. Although I wish that this time would have been shorter, I will be making a document containing the instructions and materials necessary to build a similar chair so that others who wish to build their own chair can do so much quicker. Throughout the course of this project, we received the opportunity to present our progress to members of the GCU administration at the Honors College Symposium on March 31st, and again to the President’s Advisory Board on April 17th.
After finishing this project, I have no doubt that I am studying exactly what God has created me for. I have discovered that God has placed a desire within me to be involved in something bigger than a field of study or a career or a means of income. Wherever I go in engineering, I want to be somewhere where I can use the skills that God has given me to bless his children.
So friends, little heads up….
If you should be out and about and see Ruby zooming by you…be sure to shout out a hello!! This girl is movin’ and groovin’ and you might just see her soon! xo