Magic Wheelchair presentation at Toy Fair
“I’ve been in a wheelchair since I was two-years-old—so I understand the importance of inclusion,” said Christine Getman, executive director of Magic Wheelchair. “Some people don’t know about it, and need to know about it.”
Magic Wheelchair is attending the Toy Fair trade show at the Javits Center this week as a guest of The Toy Fair Association trade group that produces the annual event. Besides having an informational booth just outside the main exhibition halls, Magic Wheelchair presented a young wheelchair-bound girl with a wonderful wheelchair “costume”: a royal coach fit for the beautiful princess whose wheelchair fit into it snug as a glass slipper.
Formed after founder Ryan Weimer devised a pirate ship enclosure for his own young son’s wheelchair after he said he wanted to be a pirate for Halloween, Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit grassroots organization that builds such epic “wheelchair costumes” via a nationwide network of volunteers and at no cost to families. This affords kids with disabilities the opportunity to be included in such fun activities as Halloween and cosplay.
Now beginning its fifth year, Magic Wheelchair has constructed 150 costumes. Eligible kids are between five and 17 and primarily use wheelchairs for mobility. Via video submission, they relate the costume they want, and why they should be selected. Magic Wheelchair then selects as many children as they have volunteers to build the chairs.
Those chosen are matched with builders in their communities who are trained in understanding the mounting points of a particular build, sizing the materials (generally lightweight foam), and adapting any buttons needed for the child to manipulate the costumed chair.
Magic Wheelchair funds the entire project, mostly from donations.
“When a kid gets a wheelchair costume, the disability disappears,” said Getman. Citing Comic Con as a likely example of an event where such costumes would be worn, she added that for anyone or entity with a fan group, ”if they’re not able to meet all their fans, they’re missing out on the whole picture. By creating more inclusion, you get the full scope of your fandom.”
Getman boldly and broadly concluded, “Inclusion is going to change the world!”
The Magic Wheelchair story