This paralyzed toddler moves around using a DIY wheelchair her parents built
A mom concerned over her paralyzed toddler’s ability to see the world decided to take matters into her own hands. Not content to wait until she was big enough to fit a standard wheelchair, she figured out a way to craft a tiny one so her daughter could explore like any other baby.
Moral of the story? Leave it to a mom.
Thirteen-month-old Evelyn Moore of Edmonton, Alberta, was diagnosed with cancer following her 4-month pediatrician visit. According to CBC News, the stage four neuroblastoma tumor on Evelyn’s spine couldn’t be removed, so she underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy. Fortunately, her cancer is in remission, but her parents have since found out the devastating news that she’s paralyzed below her arms. The condition is permanent.
In the wake of such a heartbreaking diagnosis, Evelyn’s mother Kim maintained her resolve as a parent. “You go home and you cry and you come back the next day and be the strongest mom and dad you can ever be.”
And that isn’t just a platitude. In the months after her daughter’s diagnosis, Kim became determined to give her as normal a life as possible. After doctors explained that Evelyn would likely “army crawl” until age two with a wheelchair to follow, Kim decided it wouldn’t go that way for her child saying, “I guess that wasn’t a good enough answer for me.”
In her quest to give her daughter as much independence as possible, Kim stumbled upon a do-it-yourself baby wheelchair tutorial on Pinterest and asked her husband Brad to make it for Evelyn. Using a Bumbo seat, a kitchen cutting board and the old wheels from a children’s bike, their little girl’s “wheelchair” was born.
The chair only cost about $100 altogether, but the freedom it’s afforded Evelyn is amazing. “She really gets around now,” says Kim. “She went backwards first and then she went forwards, and then she figured out how to turn. And now we have a speed bump in the middle of our living room because she just goes that fast.”
OK, that’s freaking adorable to imagine. Go Evelyn!
Although it took time for the baby to figure out how to make herself move, her parents say she now waves her arms and gets excited when she knows it’s time to go in her special chair. She even astounded Dr. Bev Wilson, her pediatric oncologist, with her impressive skills. Wilson says, “She looked like any adult or older child would in a wheelchair. She was turning around in circles, backing up.”
And this cool little seat is doing a lot more than turning heads at the doctor’s office. It’s helping Evelyn’s development. “Normally, she would be propped in a chair or a seat or a stroller somewhere. This has allowed her to explore her environment just like a crawling child would.”
Although she will someday need wheelchairs that cost thousands of dollars, her rigged up seat is working out well for now. Amazed by her willpower and determination, her father says, “Nothing can stop her.”
We have no doubt.