Young Rockland boy receives wheelchair ramp

By Stephanie Grinnell | Apr 24, 2014
Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell Paden Robbins was all smiles April 19 during construction of a wheelchair ramp that will allow his family to more easily transport him in and out of their home.

Rockland — It was a whirlwind weekend for the Robbins family of Rockland as one side of their home took on an entirely new appearance.

Paden Robbins, 5, the youngest member of the family, is reliant on a wheelchair due to a pair of co-occuring, and rare, illnesses. He looked on with interest at the hammering, sawing and drilling as he sat with his mother in the sunshine. Not shy, Paden reaches out for a handshake after one is offered to his mother, and laughs readily at many things, including a young girl performing cartwheels.

"This is pure excitement," Tracy Robbins, Paden's mother, said.

A crew from McMahon Builders arrived at the Robbins' house on Pleasant Street just after 8 a.m. to begin construction of a wheelchair ramp to replace steps leading into the home. Installation of the ramp will allow Robbins to use Paden's wheelchair to get him inside the house.

"I've been carrying him up and down the stairs," she said, shrugging her shoulders and describing her multiple failed rotator cuff surgeries. " ... we had to leave the wheelchair at school because it's too heavy."

Until a year ago, Paden was still able to walk, Robbins said, but the diagnosis of Vacterls — sometimes referred to as Vater syndrome — soon after his birth and the more recent diagnosis of Vanishing White Matter disease has confined him to a wheelchair most of the time. His mother stated matter-of-factly his life expectancy is early teens at best.

"We're going to take it one day at a time and live life to the fullest," she said with a big grin. "[Paden] doesn't like to sit still, he likes to play."

As the McMahon crew continued to work, Robbins' parents — Paden's grandparents — dutifully scrubbed the sides of the house clean, wiping away accumulated dirt on the north side of the house revealed when a shed was moved.

"Everybody has been so awesome from the start," Robbins said, looking around.

She started the process the day before by cleaning out a shed that was sitting next to the steps and house. It was relocated to another part of the yard. The steps, by mid-morning on Saturday, had been reduced in size and turned and the long, flat landing and corner of a deck for the ramp was already built and decked over. Just before noon, the angles for the ramp were being set and the ground leveled.

Robbins kept people, including out-of-state family, updated through the Facebook page, Prayers 4 Paden, throughout the day.

"We're really happy to be a part of it," Cheryl McMahon said as she worked alongside her daughter Caitlin McMahon to secure a railing.

The construction company is part of Maine Contractors and Builders Alliance; both organizations worked with Wheelchairs 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization that works nationally to provide access for children with physical disabilities. Several other local business made donations, including EBS, Hammond Lumber Co., E.L. Spear and Rankin's Hardware. Dominos Pizza of Rockland donated lunch for the crew, according to a press release from Wheelchairs 4 Kids.

Paden Robbins poses with the McMahon crew after the first trip down his new wheelchair ramp constructed through a partnership of McMahon Builders, Maine Contractors and Builders Alliance and Wheelchairs 4 Kids. (Source: Facebook)
A crew from McMahon Builders spent April 19 constructing a wheelchair ramp for young Paden Robbins at his Pleasant Street home. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
A crew from McMahon Builders spent April 19 constructing a wheelchair ramp for young Paden Robbins at his Pleasant Street home. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Caitlin McMahon and Cheryl McMahon secure a railing that is part of a new wheelchair ramp at the Robbins' home. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Tracy Robbins whispers in her son Paden's ear as they enjoy the sunshine and flurry of construction April 19 at their home. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
A crew from McMahon Builders spent April 19 constructing a wheelchair ramp for young Paden Robbins at his Pleasant Street home. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Cheryl McMahon and Caitlin McMahon work together on a railing at the Robbins' house April 19. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
A crew from McMahon Builders spent April 19 constructing a wheelchair ramp for young Paden Robbins at his Pleasant Street home. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
(Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Comments (6)
Posted by: Kathleen D Daley | Apr 25, 2014 08:29

What a great story! Touches the heart! Really good people in Midcoast Maine!



Posted by: Peggy East | Apr 24, 2014 11:17

Great job to everyone involved from the volunteers to the businesses that donated!!!



Posted by: Cheryl McMahon | Apr 24, 2014 10:02

More Thank You's to --MCBA Member, Bob Starbird of Starbird Concrete who donated the crushed rock and a VERY big THANK YOU the Rockland City Council who waived the building permit fee and John Root  for your assistance on this project!



Posted by: Dave Moody | Apr 24, 2014 08:51

Good people doing good work. Uplifting story.



Posted by: Cheryl McMahon | Apr 24, 2014 07:59


A heartfelt Thank You to the building crew who donated your time and labor, Steve McMahon & The MCBA Board Members; Chip Davison, Charlie Huntington, and Jack Meehan, Jason Boynton from McMahon Builders LLC, Caitlin McMahon,  the MCBA Vendor Members EBS, E.L.Spear, Hammond Lumber Co., and Rankin's Hardware that donated the majority of the materials needed, Susanne @ Wheelchairs 4Kids, and Domino's Pizza!



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 24, 2014 06:38

Steve has a heart of gold.  What a wonderful story and very refreshing and uplifting.

 



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Stephanie Grinnell
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Stephanie is editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. She previously served as editor of Camden Herald following its return in April 2012.

Stephanie also was editor of VillageSoup's Capital Weekly in Augusta and has nearly a decade of experience in the newspaper business ranging from southern and central Maine to Waldo County.

Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking and gardening.

Stephanie lives in Washington with her husband Jeff, four children, a dog named Chewbacca, a rabbit and chickens.

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