Every once in a while you hear about a story that you realize must be told and this is one of those. Ryan Weimer is a dad from Oregon.
He and his wife have five children. Three of his children have Spinal Muscular Atrophy and live their lives in wheelchairs.
When Ryan asked his oldest son, Keaton, what he wanted to be for Halloween in 2008, Keaton responded, "a pirate." Ryan decided not just to make Ryan a pirate costume for his body, but also a pirate ship that would envelop his wheelchair.
That year, people "oohed" and "aahed," and everyone came to check out the awesome pirate ship. Keaton even ended up on the front page of their local newspaper!
I asked Ryan over Skype about this experience. He said,
"Keaton was always an amazing kid. I mean he was an amazing kiddo before we wrapped a pirate ship around him. It bridged this gap for other people to embrace and come right up to him trading this for inclusion. I mean, these kids are often excluded because of their challenges. And this is ultimate integration. People are swarming and wanting to talk to him."
Ryan launched a nonprofit called Magic Wheelchair.
With a team of volunteers and a whole lot of donations, he's created dozens of magic wheelchairs for children with disabilities so they too can feel included. They're making them now. They have 40 volunteer teams from all over the country.
If you have a child with special needs and you want a magic wheelchair, or you want to donate your money or time, you can find out more at magicwheelchair.org.
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