Ryan & Lana Weimer founded a wonderful nonprofit organization in Oregon called, Magic Wheelchair, which makes epic Halloween costumes for children in wheelchairs. The couple has five children, three of which, have been born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Spinal muscular Atrophy and will require the use of wheelchairs for the entirety of their lives.
Ryan explained how their organization was created:
“My first son, Keaton, was diagnosed at 9 months old with SMA and this diagnosis has forever changed our family and how we do things,” Ryan said.
“Let’s just say that we have to look at life through a different set of lenses than the average man or woman. That’s what really set this whole project in motion five years ago when Keaton got his first wheelchair,” he adds.
In 2008, when Laura and Ryan asked Keaton what he wanted to be for Halloween he responded, “A pirate.”
Ryan said his thought went immediately to Keaton’s wheelchair 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!“
“Keaton loved it!” Ryan said.
” What kid wouldn’t love having a pirate ship to roll deep in, sailing through the streets, collecting Halloween booty? He even made the front page of the newspaper!” he added.
Ryan said this is how it all started and every year he asks Keaton what he wants to be for Halloween.
” I can’t help but cringe in anticipation of the challenge that each answer will issue. It’s always fun, frustrating, discouraging, occasionally painful, and (my wife would add) expensive. the most rewarding thing is hearing my kids say along the way, “That’s awesome, Dadda!”
But, the couple’s creativity did not end with their own children.
Each year, approximately 5 wheelchair bound kids, are selected to receive one of the Weimer’s epic wheel chairs.
Here is how it works:
With their parents’ permission, the kids can submit a 1-3 minute video telling the Weimer’s what they want to be for Halloween and why they should be selected for this year’s Magic Wheelchair Build.
The couple reviews the submissions and they select 5 children, who will then work with designers and builders to create the ultimate wheelchair costume in time for Halloween!
“Being in a wheelchair can be tough, so we want to help kids make something truly epic. To do that requires time, money and the support of people like you. But when they’re done, they will change the life of a young wheelchair rider,” the couple writes on their website.
“They’ve been dealt a rough hand, but they’re kids and they want to smile. They don’t want to think about difficult things,” Weimer said. “We just want to bridge gaps and create awareness and put huge smiles on kids’ faces and let them fly around on a dragon.”
Contribute to Magic Wheelchair on their KickStarter page here.
Visit the Magic Wheelchair website here.
( Most images taken from the Magic Wheelchair Facebook Page. )