Kevan Chandler’s friends made his dream of backpacking through Europe come true by carrying him the whole way
A group of men made their friend’s dream come true by taking him on a backpacking trip throughout Europe. Literally. Even though Kevan Chandler is typically wheelchair-bound, his friends made sure he saw every sight possible by carrying him on their own backs the entire time. Now that they’ve returned, they’re working to bring this experience to other people like Kevan.
Cue the tears. This is simply amazing.
Detailing their journey on a blog called “We Carry Kevan,” Chandler and his friends Luke, Ben, Tom, Philip, Robbie and Jamison told the story of their trip. And it’s beyond inspiring.
Friendship: the vehicle for this journey. A story in collaboration with We Carry Kevan.
Posted by PlayGround + on Saturday, November 19, 2016
Because his illness keeps him in a wheelchair most of the time, so many of Europe’s sites weren’t accessible to Chandler unless he were carried there. It was his dream to travel the continent, so his friends did just that. The seven of them fashioned a special backpack carrier for him to fit in and the guys took turns putting Kevan on their backs so he wouldn’t miss a single thing.
Chandler writes of his memories of “dancing down the streets of Paris, feeding parakeets in Kensington, hiking to the top of old Skellig Michael” as well as the less pleasant moments, including a group illness in England. He says with all the experiences they had, even the mundane days of just resting and not doing anything spectacular, it was having his friends by his side that made the trip so memorable and special.
And it was because of those friends and their drive to innovate and make sure that Chandler didn’t miss out that the trip happened in the first place.
Now, the group is trying to open up this kind of opportunity for others in Chandler’s position, that is, mostly living life in a wheelchair and unable to see sites that don’t have accessibility. All possible obstacles were removed for Chandler by being on one of his friend’s backs instead of being limited to places that could accommodate his wheelchair.
And that’s how We Carry Kevan was born.
Though it hasn’t achieved non-profit status yet, the guys hope to soon so the organization can help others with disabilities to achieve things that might otherwise be impossible. And that doesn’t necessarily mean someone else’s trip would look just like Chandler’s — they’re open to helping someone plan an adventure that overcomes all kinds of obstacles. That might include a backpack like the one they made, or not.
For now, the group is gathering steam and trying to find direction in order to help people as soon as possible. Chandler is currently writing a book about the trip and a film is also in the works. Considering all they’ve achieved on their own, we can only imagine how many people they can help once they establish themselves and get the funding needed to make dreams come true.