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August 26, 2014

August 26, 2014

For more information,
Contact: Hannah Parker
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 544-0088


Project will provide handicap accessibility for Elijah James

Today, Rebuilding Together Knoxville announced a collaborative effort among multiple construction companies to provide handicap accessibility for the home of 3-year-old Elijah James and his family.  Elijah has rachischisis, the most severe form of a congenital disorder known as spina bifida.

His family and friends have become ambassadors for Elijah and his medical condition, using social media to raise awareness about the disease.

Through their efforts, friends of the James family and neighbors from across East Tennessee contributed to the purchase of a highly specialized power wheelchair that allows Elijah to move throughout his home.  Once the money for the chair was raised, the family knew they needed to invest in improvements and upgrades to their house to make it handicap-accessible.

Elijah James, 3, and his family will have a renovated home thanks to the efforts of Rebuilding Together Knoxville and multiple companies that pitched in to help.

Elijah James, 3, and his family will have a renovated home thanks to the efforts of Rebuilding Together Knoxville and multiple companies that pitched in to help.

“When we initially developed the Facebook page for Eli, we never imagined it would have more than 12,000 ‘likes,’ ” said Elijah’s mother, Dawn James.  “Several months ago, some friends of ours launched a fundraising campaign for Eli to obtain a wheelchair.  We never dreamed that so many people would share the video with friends and contribute to the purchase of the chair, which was $33,000.

“Now that he has the chair, we needed a way to make it work in our house. Thanks to Rebuilding Together Knoxville, that will happen.”

The renovation will transform two small bedrooms into an accessible bedroom and bathroom on the main floor and will add an additional bedroom and bathroom in the basement for Elijah’s older sister, Skylar. A wheelchair accessible ramp will be constructed from the driveway to the main floor. The total cost of the project is approximately $30,000.

Upgrades and changes to the James’ home will be done free of charge to the family.  Participating construction and design companies are donating all materials and labor.

“Rebuilding Together Knoxville is an organization made up completely of volunteers, and we are honored to partner with the James family to make necessary upgrades for Eli to be able to live comfortably at home,” said Chris Bieger, president of the board of directors of Rebuilding Together Knoxville. “The James family story is one of many compelling needs in our community, and our organization works to find solutions for emergency home repairs and accessibility modifications for families.”

Multiple companies are participating in the effort and include:

  • Messer Construction Co.
  • McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects & Interior Design
  • Massey Electric Company
  • Cherokee Millwright & Mechanical, Inc.
  • Cook Bros. Construction
  • E. Luke Greene Company, Inc.
  • Bonitz Flooring Group, Inc.
  • S&ME
  • Harrison Construction Company
  • Finish Point Trim and Millwork
  • MHJ Quality Cleaning Services
  • Corporate Quarters

The demolition and construction period is expected to last approximately two weeks.

For more information about Rebuilding Together Knoxville, please visit

For more information about Elijah James, please visit the Facebook page about this courageous journey.


About Rebuilding Together Knoxville

Rebuilding Together Knoxville (RTK) is a nonprofit organization striving to preserve and revitalize houses and communities in Knoxville and the Knox County area. As an affiliate of Rebuilding Together, our mission is to preserve affordable housing by bringing volunteers and communities together to rehabilitate the homes of limited-income homeowners. We work to assure that limited-income homeowners, particularly older adults, military veterans, people with disabilities and families with children, live in warmth, safety and independence. Our goal is to make a sustainable impact in partnerships with communities.

Maria Cornelius