Community shows up to help paralyzed firefighter

TIM JEAN/Staff file photoQuinn Foss, who is confined to a wheelchair, is helped up by her friend Edward Murphy. Recently, a Hampstead couple who owns a contracting company donated a ramp, making trips in and out of the home easier.

HAMPSTEAD — Quinn Foss’ unexpected medical troubles are mountainous, but strangers with helping hands have recently come to her aid.

Foss gained regional support from individuals, groups and the government since sharing her story with The Eagle-Tribune last month, noting that she has a lot of life left to live, and live well, with the right support.

The 31-year-old Hampstead woman is quadriplegic, meaning she has no meaningful use of her limbs. Several years ago during a normal back injection to manage pain, a doctor hit a nerve that traveled down her legs, she said.

“I got an infection and was paralyzed within a week,” Foss explained. “I signed a paper saying I knew the risks, so I couldn’t sue. This happens to one in 500,000 people.”

A Stratham firefighter at the time, she was ultimately forced to leave her dream job for long stints at home — in an unfinished basement apartment — while her fiance and other household members worked. 

Nicholas and Ashley Haseltine, of Haseltine Builders in Hampstead, say they felt compelled to help after they read her story.

“These types of handicapped accessible ramps, like Quinn needed, are something we’ve done before. We’ve done some donations in the past,” Ashley Haseltine said. “I knew that my husband would be able to do something.”

Nicholas Haseltine said it took eight to 10 hours to finish the project.

“Quinn was super excited," he said. "She was hesitant at first, because she got burned by an original builder, but she was happy and grateful to see us.”

His wife added, "Everyone has skills that can help someone else out. That's how we see it."

Foss, facing some urgent medical issues, was unable to speak for an interview this week. Instead, her close friend and fundraising organizer Edward Murphy weighed in, saying he has watched her spirits rise as she witnesses the generosity of others.

“We have been able to move her upstairs. She bought a new mattress and paid some medical bills,” Murphy said. “The state of New Hampshire will be coming into the house to do $17,000 worth of work to make the upstairs more handicap accessible.”

Murphy said he continues to call on the firefighting community, of which he is also a part of after retiring as a Lawrence lieutenant, to help out.

More information on Foss, her needs and donations can be found online, by searching Quinn Foss at gofundme.com.

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