REBUILD BETTER TOGETHER … bringing change
THE STORY BEGINS
The inspiration to establish Rebuild Better Together (RBT) began on April 10, 2017. Our friend Dennis was on his way to a first-ever meeting of a men’s life group at his church in Baltimore.
Dennis would never make it to his meeting.
That night, he suffered a life changing spinal cord injury (SCI). He was transported to Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland Hospital following a tragic motorcycle accident. A few months later while recovering in a nursing home, now a quadriplegic, his marriage of 29 years was ended.
Dennis was now suffering a life-changing emotional injury as well. His greatest desire over the next several years was to get out of the nursing home and return to a home where he could live as independently as possible.
Several men from the church group and his loving daughters assisted Dennis in transitioning from the nursing home and moving him into his new apartment on January 12, 2022. Dennis’ dream of living independently became a reality. Although Dennis lived in Baltimore now, he loved everything Pittsburgh, and spent many years living there.
Statistics show it’s not unusual for spinal cord injury survivors to end up facing recovery without the help of family support systems to include the loss of spousal support. Returning to an accessible dwelling that is adapted for SCI persons is critical to regaining independence. Going it alone, without having family, spousal or a community support system makes it nearly impossible when beginning recovery from a spinal cord injury. In part, RBT’s mission is simply to make this return to accessible housing a reality for those with spinal cord injuries who lack a support system.
Our friend Dennis, who was and always will be, the inspiration for Rebuild Better Together passed away on June 25, 2022 in his new home.
THE STORY CONTINUES
On June 17, 2021, Kara and Jared were hiking together in Pittsburgh at a local park when a giant tree limb fell on them. Jared’s spinal cord was severed while his beautiful wife, Kara, perished. The physical and mental pain that came in the blink of an eye was devastating. Jared’s purpose for living now largely centered around their two sons who needed their dad at home. Family and the community rallied around him with love and generosity, adapting his home to make it accessible. Jared’s home, aided by the outpouring from the community and his family, received the necessary make over to insure accessibility. This effort was led largely by Stambrosky Homes located in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh.
There is no question it would be impossible for someone that has suffered a SCI to return to their own home if it has not been adapted. Jared recognized that the need is enormous. His idea of helping others return to an accessible home culminated with Rebuild Better Together’s KARA Program. This program, in memory of his wife Kara, embodies her mantra of “Share the Love”.
Rebuild Better Together was born with the goal of helping people in the greater Pittsburgh and Baltimore metropolitan areas with spinal cord injuries (SCI) who lack family or spousal support by improving their quality of life.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” `SOCRATES`