Denver7 | Gives


Denver7 viewers donate $3,500 to buy accessibility equipment for Denver man left paralyzed by accident

Posted: 6:53 PM, Mar 08, 2024
Updated: 2024-03-08 21:21:05-05
Erik Blanchette received new accessibility equipment after Denver7 viewers donated over $3500.

DENVER — Home looks a little different now for Erik Blanchette. After four months in the hospital, Blanchette is back home but still fears the steps to his bedroom.

"I'm not going anywhere near them," he said.

In November 2023, Blanchette tripped and fell down the stairs, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down and wheelchair-bound.

"I'm trying to wrap my head around that this is how the rest of my life is gonna be," said Blanchette.

Blanchette's home was not wheelchair accessible. Narrow hallways, a dip at the front door and a tub in the shower made it impossible for him to do basic tasks.

Home modifications came with a significant cost. Blanchette's wife, Chanda, said initial estimates were roughly $15,000 for a remodeled bathroom.

Fortunately, Chanda's family, friends and co-workers decided to help. The bathroom was remodeled free of charge, a family member donated a ramp and Blanchette's father gave him a van with a modified wheel that he can drive.

"You don't think about how many people truly care about you until something really traumatic happens," said Blanchette. "It's really overwhelming."

Erik Blanchette is in need of help to make his home wheelchair accessible.

Denver7 | Gives

Denver man left paralyzed by accident in need of wheelchair-accessible home

Sam Peña
8:29 PM, Nov 24, 2023

Our Denver7 viewers also decided to contribute. They donated over $3,500 to help make Blanchette's home more accessible.

With some of the remodeling covered, the Blanchettes asked for several items, such as a shower wheelchair, a mechanical lift and new slings.

"This more than I could have ever expected," said Blanchette.

The new wheelchair will help Blanchette enter the shower by himself, while the mechanical lift will help Chanda lift him in case he falls out of his chair. Blanchette said it'll help him return to a sense of normalcy and autonomy.

Although it's unlikely he will ever walk again, Blanchette is attending physical therapy in the hopes of regaining some movement in his lower body.

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