WOODSTOCK — A Cherokee County couple is asking for help expanding an elevator shaft for their seven-year-old disabled son, which they say was incorrectly assembled and left unfinished over a year ago.
Courtney and Brian Froy began an elevator shaft project in their two-story Woodstock house in June 2019, but the project fell through within six months. The family is now looking to raise money to help fix the shaft, which is estimated to cost $30,000.
Courtney Froy said the elevator shaft will help the family move her son Tanner Froy, who has a rare genetic disorder called CDKL5, more easily throughout the house. Tanner is missing protein in his brain, leading to his inability to walk, talk, eat, or use his hands. He also can’t hold his head up, is visually impaired, and has seizures on a daily basis.
The family originally hired a company to construct the elevator shaft for $50,000, with the expectation that it would be completed in a short few months. However, because of missteps in the construction process, the project was abandoned by elevator manufacturer REMI Home Elevators and an unlicensed contractor, Shad Crawford, Courtney Froy said. Now, the elevator shaft in her home is too small for both her and her son to fit in, and needs to be expanded because she doesn’t want to leave Tanner alone in the elevator.
Crawford declined to comment on the matter, and Michelle Peterson, REMI’s owner, didn’t respond.
Froy added that the elevator company measured Tanner’s wheelchair, and that she isn’t sure if there was clear communication with the contractor about the dimensions of the elevator shaft.
“We also showed the chair to the subcontractor, so I’m not sure what happened,” she said. “We have in writing from the contractor what he should have built the shaft to, but he didn’t. He told us he won’t fix the problem, in part due to the amount it would cost to fix the shaft, among other excuses.”
The couple filed a lawsuit against Crawford and REMI Home Elevators in Pickens County last May over the $50,000 elevator shaft, a project where half was paid out of pocket, and the other half was paid via a fundraiser.
“We are waiting on the judgement in the case against Crawford, who has never responded during the case, so we have an automatic judgement to win against him,” Courtney Froy said. “I don’t know if we will receive any money from him, but it’s basically an open and shut case. We are still in litigation with REMI.”
When Tanner isn’t in his custom wheelchair, his parents carry him to different areas of the house. However, as he has gotten older and bigger, his mom said it has become more difficult to carry him around.
“We figured two years ago that, while we were still able to carry him at that point, we knew over time that he would grow, so we went ahead and started planning the elevator shaft project,” she said. “Tanner is around 70 pounds now and he is tall.”
The Froys set up a GoFundMe with a goal to raise $25,000, with the additional cost coming out of pocket. As of Monday, the family has raised $6,930. An anonymous individual pledged to match the total raised dollar-for-dollar. Froy said they raised a little over $3,000, and the anonymous individual put in around $3,000 of his own money.
The fundraiser can be found at bit.ly/3vK1bax.
Some companies have told the family they plan to help, Courtney Froy said. An elevator company was scheduled to meet the family Tuesday to discuss the project.
“Getting this elevator completed is crucial for us for the safety of my son being carried up and down the stairs, as well as allowing my wife and the caregivers the ability to transport him without risk of injuring not only Tanner, but themselves,” Brian Froy said.