Custom Wheelchairs Are a Dream Come True for Disabled Children
What child wouldn’t want a magical moveable costume designed by some of America’s most talented set and costume designers? Thanks to Magic Wheelchair, several wheelchair-bound children will have that chance this Halloween.
Ryan and Lana Weimer, the founders of nonprofit Magic Wheelchair, have five children, three of which were born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a condition that confines them to wheelchairs for life.
The idea was originally sparked back in 2008 when Weimer asked his first son Keaton, who has SMA and had just received his wheelchair, what he wanted to be for Halloween. Keaton’s response? A pirate. A magical moment struck when he realized “Keaton has this wheelchair he cruises around in, and every pirate needs a ship, so let’s just build one around his chair! When you don’t know how much time you have with your kids, you do as much as you can with the time you have. You go big.”
That year, Keaton’s costume gained a lot of attention from their community in Oregon. Weimer noted that the other kids didn’t look at his son like the ‘poor kid in a wheelchair’. They approached him with ease and showed their admiration for him and his awesome pirate ship. Since then, every Halloween, Weimer has created attention-getting, customized wheelchair costumes for his kids.
But this year, Weimer and his wife decided to increase their scope of impact by starting a nonprofit to give other children in wheelchairs the chance to drive around in their very own Halloween costumes as well. They launched a Kickstarter in June, and with the help of 769 backers, raised over $10,000 more than their original $15,000 goal. Each Magic Wheelchair costs roughly $3,000 to create. As a result, eight lucky children will go trick-or-treating in their very own ultimate wheelchair costume, providing them with a life-changing experience: seeing something from their imagination turned into reality.
Many of the volunteers that work with Magic Wheelchair have backgrounds in set or costume design. Weimer himself took an online course in creating special effects from the Stan Winston School, now one of their biggest supporters.
What’s on tap for his sons, Keaton and Bryce this year? One has his sights set on the past as the other shoots into the future – a dinosaur and spacecraft.
Magic Wheelchair seeks to do this for every child in a wheelchair. With 150,000 kids in wheelchairs, they have their work cut out for them, but they are determined to make every child’s wildest Halloween costume dreams come true.