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Volunteers build wheelchair ramp for elderly Brentwood amputee

Armando Cardona, left, looks at the wheelchair ramp

Armando Cardona, left, looks at the wheelchair ramp currently under construction for his mother, Aida Cardona, outside her home at 5 Hamilton Ave. in Brentwood on Thursday, May 19, 2016. Rebuilding Together Long Island, a non-profit, is building the ramp for Aida Cardona. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Nine volunteers with the Farmingdale-based non-profit Rebuilding Together Long Island spent hours in the sun on Thursday constructing a wheelchair ramp for an elderly Brentwood amputee.

Joe Botkin, senior vice president and co-founder of the group, said the ramp -- made for Aida Berrios Cardona, 79 -- was the 283rd free wheelchair ramp installed by the organization since its inception 24 years ago.

“This woman’s been virtually trapped in her house for two years,” Botkin said.

Cardona’s son, Armando Cardona, 56, of Bay Shore, recounted how he had gone through countless phone calls with insurance companies for help with the costs in building a ramp over the past three years since his mother’s right leg was amputated while battling vascular disease.

“We’re both just very happy, very thankful,” Cardona said. “I would love to be able to take her to the beach or down to the marina more often now, just to get her spirits up.”

The materials for one ramp costs about $2,500, Botkin said. Funds are raised for each project by Rebuilding Together Long Island, which solicits donations from local businesses and places of worship.

The non-profit helps an average 100 families in Nassau and most of Suffolk county each year by installing the ramps, as well as grab bars and widening doorways.

For more information or to apply for assistance, visit http://www.rebuildingtogetherli.org.

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