Oregon family creates Halloween costumes for kids in wheelchairs


Brianna Chambers contributed to this story.

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

Look at his face!

Posted by Magic Wheelchair on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

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

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

Before the lights turned on!

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

Brianna Chambers contributed to this story.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Publishing company apologizes for textbook that includes theories some call racist
Publishing company apologizes for textbook that includes theories some call racist

Pearson, an education publishing company, has recently come under fire for publishing a nursing textbook that included offensive language about treating patients of different cultures. “Nursing: A Concept-Based Approach to Learning” contained a section titled “Cultural Differences in Response to Pain” that detailed how various...
Study: The amount of time kids spend on mobile screens has tripled in 4 years
Study: The amount of time kids spend on mobile screens has tripled in 4 years

Do you know how much time your child is spending on mobile devices? It’s up to about two hours a day, according to a new report. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that helps kids, parents and educators thrive in a world of technology, recently conducted a study to determine media use by children aged 0 to 8.  To do so...
Police find woman, child and infant naked and unconscious under mysterious circumstances
Police find woman, child and infant naked and unconscious under mysterious circumstances

A baby girl passed away, and a woman and an older girl, believed to be the infant’s mother and sister, are still hospitalized after police discovered all three of them naked, unconscious and covered in white powder in the parking lot of a Los Angeles, market. Officers responded to the scene around 2 a.m. Thursday after receiving a...
Ex-Gators quarterback Chris Leak loses teaching license after allegedly asking student to touch his genitals
Ex-Gators quarterback Chris Leak loses teaching license after allegedly asking student to touch his genitals

A former Florida Gators quarterback did not contest allegations that he asked an underage student to touch him inappropriately. Edgewater High School football coach and Art Recovery teacher Chris Leak, who played quarterback at the University of Florida just before Tim Tebow, voluntarily surrendered his Florida Educator’s Certificate amid...
Florida man arrested after bombs, ammo, school maps found in home
Florida man arrested after bombs, ammo, school maps found in home

A Florida man was arrested after homemade bombs, an AK-47 assault rifle, ammunition and school maps were discovered inside his bedroom.  Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a news conference Thursday that deputies were set to search the home Randall Drake, 24, of Dunedin, Florida, shared with his parents for a child pornography...
More Stories