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Ramping it up for Henman’s return to Nelson

Friends and neighbours are again ramping it up for Pat Henman — this time, literally.

Friends and neighbours are again ramping it up for Pat Henman — this time, literally.

For the past two days, a handy crew has been hard at work building a wheelchair ramp at the home of the local woman who has returned to Nelson. Henman is still on the road to recovery, but is finally back in Nelson at the Kootenay Lake Hospital. It was time to make her home accessible.

RJ Warren organized the construction project and soon had Paul Hinton and Doug Taylor on board. They picked up supplies — offered at a fraction of the price at Home Hardware — Tuesday morning and by the end of Wednesday a ramp to access Henman’s home was nearly done.

Jumping in with a helping hand follows several community-organized fundraisers held to support the family after a horrific car accident almost took Henman’s life in early June. Her daughter Maia Vezina was also critically injured.

“This is a continuation of what the community did to help,” said Warren. “It’s part of what people in Nelson are all about. I see that in Paul. I see that in Doug.”

While construction is not Warren’s forte, help with design from Bernie Zimmer and the hands of Hinton and Taylor ensured the feel-good project went off without a hitch.

“You got to have people who know what they are doing,” said Warren. “I can’t speak highly enough of these guys.”

While the ramp is built outside, Henman’s husband Larry Vezina is happily working in their house making it ready to bring his wife home after not knowing if she’d make it a few months ago.

Henman has been bed ridden for much of the past three months and is slowly making a transition to small outings.

“When the ramp is done, we will bring her home for an hour,” said Vezina.

He’s been seeing a difference in her spirit since returning to her home community. After much of her recovery spent at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Henman was relocated to Kelowna. Then, September 5, she came to Nelson by ambulance. It was a rough road trip that took its toll but she was “so damn happy to be here” she perked up immediately, said Vezina.

Henman has come a long way considering one doctor told Vezina after the crash, “I put her odds at very slim to none.” Every person who’s viewed her medical chart since has called her a “medical miracle.”

“Scientifically speaking, she just blew all the odds. She pulled it off.”

Should things go smoothly, Vezina hopes to have Henman at home within three weeks. She would continue to have care on her abdominal wounds and work on rehabilitation from there.

“She’s still in the healing process but that healing is going very well,” said Vezina. “But it’s 100 per cent Pat Henman, there’s no missing that, in spirit and in mind.”

Their daughter Maia is a force of her own making, achieving her goal of returning to university classes this fall. Her parents worry as she tackles three courses from her wheelchair while continuing rehabilitation.

“She’s managing it all on her own,” said Vezina. “But she’d be the first to tell you she’s a little overwhelmed with all the balls in the air.”

In an apartment with roommates, “she’s just flat on getting on with her life,” said her dad.

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