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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Size matters, especially for Gabriel Jimenez-Tellado, whose wheelchair can fit through the doors of his house for the first time.

The 9-year-old Gainesville resident was born with Larsen syndrome, which limits his mobility.

On Friday, Rebuilding Together North Central Florida and Charles Perry Partners Inc. unveiled the completed renovations that make moving around his house easier.

“For him, it was tough to be a confined to a small space, to never be in the shower or be able to wheel his wheelchair around,” said Doris Tellado, Jimenez-Tellado’s mother. “He can do all that.”

Larsen syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects one in 100,000 people, Tellado said.

The Tellado family moved to Florida to be closer to family and to Jimenez-Tellado’s doctors, Tellado said. They bought their current house, located on Northeast 43rd Terrace, with plans to remodel it to suit their needs but were never able to afford the necessary additions.

As a result, Jimenez-Tellado had limited mobility. His wheelchair didn’t fit through the doorways, so his parents and nurse had to carry him.

The family met with Rebuilding Together representatives in 2010 to discuss plans for renovations to the house.

In 2012, the work began as one of the most extensive projects undertaken by Rebuilding Together, said RD Bonner, executive director for Rebuilding Together.

Workers widened the doorways and expanded Jimenez-Tellado’s bedroom to make his bed accessible from all sides. They also installed a lift system that can hold up to 350 pounds.

With the help of 50 workers and 12 professional organizations, the project finished in March 10 months later.

“It’s great to give back to a family ... who are so active in the community,” Bonner said.

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Tellado said with the extra space, Jimenez-Tellado can now wheel himself to his desk or go to his brother’s room to play.

“I feel like I won the lottery,” she said.

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