News source from CTV News
Over a year after a devastating crash changed Ryan Straschnitzki’s life forever, the young man and his family are returning to their newly renovated home in Airdrie.
Straschnitzki, 20, was paralyzed from the chest down when the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus crashed into a semi tractor-trailer on a rural Saskatchewan highway last April.
The crash also killed 16 people dead and 13 others injured.
The Straschnitzki’s family home, in the community north of Calgary, underwent extensive renovations to accommodate for the young man’s mobility issues.
That work was delayed for months because of a number of structural issues with the home.
The garage floor sank 50 centimetres and had to be re-poured. There were problems with wiring and the hardwood floors had to be ripped up.
Some of the biggest changes in the home have been the installation of an elevator from the garage to the basement, where Ryan’s apartment will be, and a separate heating unit for his bedroom because he is unable to determine when his body is too hot or too cold.
Ryan says the new home design has left him “speechless.”
“Everything has just been amazing. You saw my mom with the tears going on. Just her reaction kinda shows what this house is like. It’s like a whole new house and I’m really excited.”
He says more than anything else, it’s great to be home.
“It’s a pretty different situation but I know I’m surrounded by family and I know my friends will be over all the time. Yeah, I can’t wait.”
Ryan’s mom Michelle says she is “overwhelmed” by the finished renovations too.
“This is a completely new house to us but it’s beautiful and we’re so grateful. Everyone that helped out; the laundry list of people to thank, it’s immeasurable.”
She adds the basement apartment for Ryan is perfectly suited for his needs.
“Ryan can do whatever he wants now. He can live his life the way he wants to and he can come and go as he pleases, more or less. I’m just so grateful we can all be together again.”
Meanwhile Ryan expects he’ll be getting back to his normal life very soon now that he’s home and looks forward to catching up on the Stanley Cup playoffs with his friends.
“I think that even though the Flames are out I’ll have every other team going. I know my friends are fans of all those teams so I’ll get them here and watch the games.”
(With files from the Canadian Press)
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