Businesses and firefighters team up to help Caldwell boy

Businesses and firefighters team up to help Caldwell boy


by Maggie O'Mara

Bio | Email | Follow: @maggiektvb7


Posted on September 1, 2013 at 10:50 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 2 at 7:19 AM

CALDWELL -- A Caldwell boy with a condition similar to muscular dystrophy is getting around his home a lot easier these days, thanks to some help from local businesses and a team of big-hearted firefighters.

Skyers Ruplinger was a happy, healthy baby, but something wasn't right.

"He never stood up to take his first steps," said Skyers' mom, Ladette. "All my family was like 'he should be walking by now, he's 18 months.'"

For Ladette, it was a devastating diagnosis for her little boy - something no parent wants to hear. Doctors confirmed her son had spinal muscular atrophy. The diagnosis meant Skyers would never walk.

"My philosophy was fight," said Ladette, "That's the only thing I know how to do is fight, so I started working him out."

And Skyers is a fighter too.

"He works really hard, because of that he can swim and play and use his arms still," said Ladette. "We've got to fight to keep him alive."

Because of that fight, Skyers is growing, strong, and able to play with his little sister Takoda.

But it was getting harder for Ladette to bathe him, and his bedroom was getting cramped. A home rennovation was needed.

So, Ladette reached out to local business owners and couldn't believe the response.

"It was humbling," she said. "I was asking for discounts at first, and everyone came in and did it for free, it was amazing."

Now, her closet has been transformed into a new bathroom and bedroom just for Skyers.

"I really love my bathtub," said Skyers. "And I'm happy I got this new room because now I can take a bath."

A group of Caldwell firefighters helped make it happen.

"We have a great tradition of working with the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association)," said one firefighter. "During our Fill the Boot event, Skyers' mom, Ladette, told us what was going on with this project and we knew we wanted to be involved in that."

The firefighters did the sheetrock in the new room.

"They told the story of him taking his bath and washing his hands and we actually got chills, got a bunch of tough firefighters tearing up over it."

The cherry on top of the new renovation is a top of the line adaptive bathtub, given to the Ruplingers free of charge by Custom Home Solutions.

"As a busines owner this is what it's all about," said Anne Leibow, of Custom Home Solutions. "We came together as small businesses to do something for a family that they probably couldn't have done on their own."

The plumbing, the flooring, everything was donated by these generous local companies:

  • Custom Home Solutions Best Bath Showroom
  • A1 Plumbing
  • Dillabaugh’s Flooring America & Design
  • Caldwell Fire Department
  • Lowes of Nampa Idaho
  • Kneaders Bakery & Café
  • Rizen Creative
  • Steve Smith Photography

"Thank you, I mean I can't thank you enough," said Ladette. "It's changed our lives."