It was a routine bike ride through Red Rocks Park in August of 2013.
Stewart Podolsky, 60, of Golden, cycled down the hill from the amphitheater toward Trading Post Road, a familiar path that he took at least once a week. But this time, his usual …
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It was a routine bike ride through Red Rocks Park in August of 2013.Stewart Podolsky, 60, of Golden, cycled down the hill from the amphitheater toward Trading Post Road, a familiar path that he took at least once a week. But this time, his usual ride would meet an end that was far from his anticipation.“A car pulled out in front of me from the stop sign,” Podolsky said. “I tried to swerve to avoid it but I still hit the front end of the car and flew over it.”The encounter would leave Podolsky with a broken neck. Doctors determined the accident left him an incomplete quadriplegic, which means he still has some sensations. He has recovered most of his motor functions and is learning to walk again, although he will always need assistance with the use of crutches.“It’s just changed our life completely,” said Stewart’s wife, Katie Podolsky.One of the biggest impacts has been on the Podolsky’s finances. Home renovations were a must in order to accommodate Stewart’s accessibility with a wheelchair which included widening doorways. Most of the home’s flooring is hardwood but the kitchen floor along with the living area which is carpeted needs to be removed so Stewart can get around easier. With money being so tight, Podolsky’s learned about the Home Builders Foundation or HBF, a Denver based nonprofit which provides home modifications at no cost related to accessibility for individuals with disabilities in need of financial assistance.For the last 21 years, the foundation has established close partnerships with home builders and gained a strong following from volunteers.“The success of the HBF is credited to the volunteers and supporters who believe in the work that we do to change lives and bring independence home to our recipients,” Beth Forbes, executive director of HBD said. “Simply put, without these volunteers and supporters we could not do what we do.” HBF operates in eight counties in the Denver area and receives seven to 10 applications a month, Forbes said.“I work with the most amazing staff and volunteers,” she said. “We maintain a grassroots feel which also means I get to interact with the recipients, which is incredible. It’s so rewarding to get to know them from as early on as the application, walk them through the process and then have it come full circle with a modification that’s going to immediately and forever impact their lives.”For the Podolsky’s, they couldn’t be more grateful of organizations like HBF who have helped assist them in their situation. Last week, the Podolsky’s received new flooring in their kitchen and the carpet in the living area was torn out as well.“They’re a fabulous organization,” said Katie Podolsky. “We’re so appreciative.”Before his accident, Stewart was not only active in cycling but also cross-country skiing, hiking and weight training. His focus now is to continue his rehab at Craig Hospital and participate in the Team Craig Walk to Victory, a Step-a-thon benefiting Craig Hospital’s Neuro Recovery Network.Proceeds will not only benefit Craig’s Neuro Recovery Network but also Team Reeve, an active fundraiser through the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Craig will be one of 12 hospitals across the country participating with the event starting on Friday, July 18, at 6 p.m. to Saturday, July 19, at 6 p.m. in the Craig Hospital PEAK Center. Stewart will be walking with assistance on a treadmill. Community members interested in the event can help sponsor Stewart whose personal goal is $250. For more information about the Walk to Victory and to help sponsor Stewart, visit www.walktovictory.org , click on Sponsor a Participant, type in the first name Stew and click on Give Now.Information as well as an online application for the Home Builders Foundation can be found online at www.hbfdenver.org.
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