Life and Religion
|Building faith: Helping hands spread blessings|
|Ramp serves as bridge to mobility|
|Published Thursday, May 31, 2012 8:07 am|
James Boulware was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis and he’s been unable to walk on his own for three years.
|James Boulware has better access to the outside world after men from Friendship Missionary Baptist , Trinity Park Baptist and Greater Providence Baptist churches built a ramp at his Charlotte home.|
Confined to a wheelchair, getting in and out of his in-laws’ home in East Charlotte was a challenge. But on a recent Saturday, despite the heat and humidity, men from various faith organizations came together to build a ramp for Boulware to have easier access to and from home. The project took nearly eight hours.
“About six or seven different men from different churches came out to build the ramp and it took them all day,” Boulware said last week. “I couldn’t get around much before. They did a good job on it and it has helped me a lot.”
Men from Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Trinity Park Baptist Church and Greater Providence Baptist Church built the wooden ramp for Boulware. Love INC (In the Name of Christ) provided all of the materials through its Ramp It Up! Ministry for the disabled. Love INC has a network of more than 190 congregations in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, which offer volunteer services to help people in need. The organization works with the less fortunate, elderly and handicapped.
Boulware says before receiving his motorized wheelchair he could barely get in or out of vehicles, and his wife Tameka helps bathe him.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the small joints in the hands and feet and mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Boulware, 38, says he remembers the disease vaguely dating back to when he was 17.
“When I was younger I was playing basketball and my whole body just shut down,” he remembered. “I couldn’t even make it down the street because my legs went numb on me.”
As he got older, the disease became more aggressive.
“It started in my legs and then with my whole left side of my body,” Boulware said. “Then it started with my hands. I really don’t have a lot of mobility.”
Boulware stopped working at his nursing home job and then he and Tameka lost their home before moving in with her parents off The Plaza.
“The ramp has been so helpful to us,” Tameka said. “(Boulware’s) disease put him out of work and he has these seizures that have taken over his body.”
Terrence Bamberg, a member of Friendship and chairman of the Christian Men’s Alliance, a group that helps the less fortunate, said helping out another disabled person is like helping himself.
Bamberg can relate to Boulware. He has had 30 surgeries on his eyes and is blind in his left eye. Due to so many surgeries his kidneys failed and he is on dialysis daily. Additionally, he’s a colon cancer survivor and has poor cardiac function.
“Being handicapped and disabled myself, I may be the next person in that wheelchair,” Bamberg said. “God has just been good me and I just want to be good to other people.”
Bamberg, who is legally blind, hasn’t driven in 16 years. James Kellum, who also helped build Boulware’s ramp, helps drive Bamberg around.
“My volunteer work is a joy because I can still do it,” said Kellum, an engineer by profession. “I am thankful to be a joy to someone else.”
Boulware’s happy to have a little bit more consistency in his life thanks to the new ramp.
“The things that people take for granted I appreciate more now,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to come outside if I want to and get some fresh air.”
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