Edgerton residents Katherine Campbell and her son Shaun show the new bathroom that was remodeled for her by the Edgerton Christmas fund. Staff photo by Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Throughout the year, the Edgerton Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund collects funds which are distributed every holiday season to residents in need. It might include gifts for children in households where they might not otherwise get a gift. It might pay some bills for a family whose main wage earner recently lost his job. It provides a ham, delivered by FD#1 personnel, to all of the town’s senior citizens.
There are a variety of ways the fund helps people.
This past year, the fund took on a special project, outside of Christmas.
The city became aware of a disabled resident who had become unable to use the bathroom in her own house when her sister sent a letter asking if they could help in finding assistance to update the bathroom.
Edgerton resident Katherine Campbell was diagnosed with progressive MS in 2011. By 2017, she had become unable to get into her home bathroom without being carried in.
Her husband was glad to do that for her, but he has a job and can’t be there all the time. Her son is only 8, and even if he was physically big enough, he has to go to school. Family members come and help out when they can too, but ultimately there are times when she must be left alone much of the day.
Campbell doesn’t really require round the clock care, as she is able to get around in the house in her wheelchair. Everywhere except for the bathroom.
Don Roberts, mayor, looked into the situation and initially thought it might be somewhere in the neighborhood of a $10,000 job to remodel the room. He thought the fund could cover that, or most of it.
After getting actual estimates however, it turned out to be about three times higher – bids came in around $30,000.
Roberts didn’t give up on the idea.
“So I went and found some corporate partners that would donate the additional money, so we could accomplish the full task, and we did,” Roberts said. “We raised enough money to be able to remodel two bathrooms into one, one big enough for her to get her wheelchair in and out.”
Roberts points out that this was a special project of the tree fund, and that it all comes from private donations, not taxpayer money.
What used to be two small bathrooms were combined into one new ADA accessible bathroom.
This project has improved the quality of life for Katherine immensely. There’s a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eyes as she shows off her new bathroom. It has a wheelchair accessible shower with floor level entry, grab bars, adjustable shower head and a seat.
“Did you see that seat? It’s got a cushion on it!” she exclaims.
She is really happy about that shower, but also happily shows how the sink is low enough for her to use, and she can even reach the medicine cabinet above. Then there’s that big support bar that swivels and locks in place next to the toilet. Priceless. The entire room is now fully accessible to her, she says.
“It certainly makes my life a lot easier. We love it and appreciate it very, very much,” Campbell says.
Roberts is pleased with the success of this project, and says it’s an example of community stepping up to help take care of its own. He said he hopes that in the future similar projects can be undertaken to benefit other residents in need.