You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Oregon family creates Halloween costumes for kids in wheelchairs


A nonprofit organization started by an Oregon-based family seeks to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair.

Ryan and Lana Weimer, the founders of Magic Wheelchair, have five children, three of whom were born with spinal muscular atrophy, which requires the use of wheelchairs their whole lives.

>> Read more trending stories  

Ryan Weimer wrote on the nonprofit's website that he and his son were talking years ago about Halloween costumes. His son said he wanted to be pirate.

"During a magical thinking moment I realized, 'Keaton has this wheelchair he cruises around in, and every pirate needs a ship, so let's just build one around his chair,'" Weimer wrote.

Since then, Weimer has made the biggest, "baddest" costumes possible for his sons, Keaton and Bryce. 

"When you know that you have few memories to make with your kids, you want to make priceless ones," Weimer told NBC News.

Once news of the costumes spread, Ryan began receiving requests from parents around the world asking if he would transform their children's wheelchairs into "magic."

The Weimer family project became a hugely successful nonprofit, called Magic Wheelchair. The group has made costumes in which wheelchairs have been transformed into a Mario Kart, a SpongeBob boat, a "Frozen" ice castle and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van.

"Giving families and kids those experiences that we've been able to have year after year, it's awesome. I love it,” Weimer told BuzzFeed News last year. "My kids are seen as superstars and not looked at with sympathetic eyes or sadness."

Teams of volunteers in communities nationwide help build the incredible costumes and create unforgettable moments for children during Halloween. It takes hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to make children's dreams come true through the project.

"When we have challenges and trials and hard times, those are the things that define us," Weimer told NBC. "It doesn't matter your circumstances, you can still make beautiful things ... and it's great to see other people get behind that." 

Magic Wheelchair made eight costumes for children last year, two in Georgia and six in Oregon.

Weimer said he doesn't want Magic Wheelchair to make the costumes for Halloween only. He told ABC News that the group wants children to "roll in (the decorated wheelchairs) all year round" and to even "go shopping with Mom in a dragon."

"It's not a cure," Weimer, who has also worked as a nurse, told Buzzfeed. "I wish I was smart enough to come up with something like that. It's a cure for a day. It helps them forget. It helps other people see them as kids, and not just a kid in a wheelchair."

Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Saturday, March 21, 2015
Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Monday, January 25, 2016

Look at his face!

Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Swan Princess beings her baller

Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Before the lights turned on!

Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Monday, November 2, 2015
Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Thursday, June 4, 2015

Brianna Chambers contributed to this story.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Couple accused of killing deaf son, lighting house on fire to destroy evidence
Couple accused of killing deaf son, lighting house on fire to destroy evidence

A couple has been indicted on accusations that they murdered their deaf teenage son and then burned down their house to cover up the crime, the Associated Press reported. >> Read more trending news  According to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office in New York, Ernest F. Franklin II, 35, and his wife, Heather Franklin, 33...
Chicago teacher fired for telling student to stand for Pledge of Allegiance
Chicago teacher fired for telling student to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

A Chicago-area teacher was fired this month for telling a student to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. According to The Chicago Tribune, Vince Ziebarth, a full-time driver’s ed teacher at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Illinois, was upset when one of his students wouldn’t stand for the pledge. He told the student...
When man's best friend turns foe
When man's best friend turns foe

There are 700 million domesticated dogs globally. For most pet owners, these animals are companions - or "man's best friend." But to a penguin, a grouse or an elk, dogs can be the difference between survival and death.  Domesticated dogs kill thousands of wild animals and livestock every month. As a result, they've been persecuted and...
Missing Washington, D.C., teens: What to know
Missing Washington, D.C., teens: What to know

On March 24, a surge of photos posted by everyday people and celebrities such as Taraji P. Henson and LL Cool J on social media show images with text claiming that 14 girls have disappeared in the last 24 hours in Washington, D.C., and the images have continued to pick up steam.   WRC reported however, that the information in those...
Mother with cancer dies a day after delivering twins
Mother with cancer dies a day after delivering twins

A Fresno, California, mother died a day after welcoming newborn twins. KGO-TV reported that Jamie Snider, 30, had been diagnosed with cervical cancer for the second time. She discovered the cancer returned when she learned she was pregnant. Throughout her pregnancy, Snider underwent intensive treatment that included chemotherapy. “They couldn't...
More Stories