People Taking Action: Strangers build handicap ramp for Norfolk woman battling cancer

Posted at 6:37 PM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 18:37:32-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A Norfolk woman, who's now in a wheelchair battling cancer, is thankful for some strangers.  They helped build a small handicap ramp that's made a big difference.

Pat Combs now has freedom thanks to the ramp and is so grateful,  "Oh, it's a Godsend! It's great. I can get out now."

It's all due to three men: Kurtis Cunningham, his father-in-law Curt Goodin and friend Brian Scott.

The three recently built the ramp after Pat's daughter, Carrie Popielski, shared her concerns about her mom's situation in a Bayview neighborhood group Facebook post.

"I didn't know how I was going to get her back and forth to doctor's appointments and things like that,  you know?  I just didn't know and so it was the last thing I thought of, was on Facebook. I was just saying my feelings and here they came," Popielski said.

Cunningham says it was his wife, Danielle, who got the ball rolling.

"She saw the ad on Facebook and that's what she does for a living, is care for people. So she makes sure we're better people by doing things like this for our neighbors," he said.

But while they all live in the same community and consider themselves neighbors, they've never met.

To Kurtis that doesn't matter, "So if you're able to give help, you should give it. And we were here, what two hours?  Took us about two hours on a Sunday. It wasn't that big of a deal."

Pat just laughs at that, "Gosh, you guys have no idea how big a deal it is!"

Before the ramp, Pat says it was nearly impossible to go anywhere.

"It's like being in jail I guess.  I was so limited with what I could do,"  Pat adds, wiping back tears, "Thank you is not a big enough word."

Which is why News 3 presented Cunningham with a News 3 People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.

Kurtis was appreciative but was adamant about turning the Southern Bank gift card over to Pat.

"I'd like to give the gift card to her cause they could use it for expenses more than we could," he said.