Ryan Weimer wanted his kids to have a brilliant Halloween like every parent. This proved a challenge, because three of his five kids have a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. A year ago, Ryan started a Kickstarter to raise money for the materials to build a Toothless costume for his son, Keaton. He said if he raised more money than his goal he would start a nonprofit. Having a hard time finding the knowledge and resources needed, he reached out to Stan Winston’s School of Character Arts, known for their online videos tutorials expertise in character fabrication. He was surprised to hear back from them so quickly and with genuine interest in helping out. That blossomed into them doing something even more awesome: helping Ryan with his nonprofit.
“It’s pretty irresistible, the fact that Halloween costumes come into play puts it right in the wheelhouse of our community.” –Matt Winston, Co-Founder of Stan Winston’s School of Character Arts
After the success of his first Kickstarter. Ryan decided to make good on his promise and started Magic Wheelchair, a non-profit that turns kids’ wheelchairs into epic Halloween costumes. During this campaign, Ryan and Lana Weimer, along with volunteers and the support of Stan Winston’s School, plan to build 5 new costumes for kids in the community with wheelchairs. They’re starting small, but it has huge potential. There are schools across the country who have expressed interest in having their students make the costumes in their areas, as a branch of Magic Wheelchair. They’ve been approached by engineers and costume makers from across the globe all saying they want to build some for their communities. Even the High School group Stan Winston’s school is working with has risen to the challenge of making some costumes.
One of the coolest byproducts is that it builds those connections. Kids don’t see them as kids in a wheelchair, they see them as friends. – Ryan Weimer, Co-Founder of Magic Wheelchair
Building those relationships is what Magic Wheelchair is really about — making the chairs disappear and letting the kids shine through. Everyone wants to be seen for who they really are, and Magic Wheelchair is making that happen. So what can you do? Head over to their Kickstarter and donate what you can. If you’re in the Portland, OR, area, volunteer, or if you have a kid who is in a wheelchair, you can submit them to be chosen to have a costume built. Even if you aren’t in the area, reach out to Ryan and see what would take to start a branch of Magic Wheelchair in your community. Ryan says, “Our goal is to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair.” Now it is up to you to share this project and make it global.