Months after a serious motorcycle accident, family will have wheelchair accessible home

After original owners moved, Habitat bought back home, which is being sold to family in need

A new Habitat for Humanity family receives the key to their new home, renovated recently to make it wheelchair accessible. Pictured are Lessley Shortt, who was involved in a serious motorcycle accident last summer, his spouse Jessica McDowell, and David Butler, who presented a key to the home at a ceremony at Bluewater Health on Wednesday.

Habitat for Humanity Sarnia/Lambton is helping yet another family begin a new life in an amazing home, but the circumstances surrounding how the latest story came together are both tragic and heartwarming.

It was July 23, 2015 when Lessley Shortt, riding his motorcycle, was hit by another vehicle. As a result of the accident, Shortt was left a quadriplegic and he is still in Sarnia’s Bluewater Health recovering from those injuries.

Pictured just after receiving the keys to their new home are Lessley Shortt, his spouse Jessica McDowell, and their young son, Jaxon.
Pictured just after receiving the keys to their new home are Lessley Shortt, his spouse Jessica McDowell, and their young son, Jaxon.

When his spouse, Jessica McDowell, who is a Registered Practical Nurse working at St. Joseph’s Hospice in Sarnia, heard about an existing Habitat home that was being sold (the original owners were moving out of town), she quickly realized that there might be an opportunity.

Under the terms of the Habitat for Humanity homeowner agreements, the home, at 360 Maria St., would be sold back to Habitat for the potential use of another deserving family.

McDowell made her application on behalf of Lessley and their young son Jaxon, a very busy two and a half year old.

“Les was Jaxon’s primary care giver when I worked my four, 12-hour shifts each week,” McDowell wrote in her application to Habitat. “Our current home is not wheelchair accessible whatsoever and impossible to make it so. If we were chosen to have a Habitat home, it would allow us to continue to be a family. And for that, we would be forever grateful.”

Those wishes have come true, with a team from Habitat recently completing the renovations necessary for the Maria Street home to become wheelchair accessible.

A short ceremony at which a key to the property was presented to the family took place on Wednesday afternoon at Bluewater Health, where Shorttt continues to receive treatment for his injuries.

There is as yet no indication as to when he will be able to leave the hospital, but the family remains hopeful, knowing that their new home awaits.

Get the Lambton Shield Daily Brief in your inbox:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.