Thanks to a group of innovative high school students in Maryland, one father who uses a wheelchair is now able to safely take his newborn baby on a stroll.
What are the details?
For most parents, transporting their young children around in a stroller is a basic and expected part of life. But for 37-year-old Jeremy King, strolling with his new child was a simple pleasure he never thought he’d be able to enjoy, WRC-TV reported earlier this month.
In 2017, King underwent surgery to remove a baseball-sized cancerous tumor from his brain. The operation was successful, but King has been left with significant mobility and speech challenges and most of the time is forced to use a wheelchair to get around.
Fortunately for him, his wife, 32-year-old Chelsie King teaches middle school drama at Bullis School, a private K-12 school in Potomac, Maryland, where there happens to be a group of particularly inventive students.
After the couple’s online search for a wheelchair-friendly stroller proved unfruitful, Chelsie King took her concerns to a colleague at the high school, Matt Zigler, who runs a creative lab where students take part in hands-on projects, the Washington Post reported.
“I approached him as a personal favor,” she recalled. “I know he’s a whiz at building things and is an incredibly collaborative person.”
She expected that he would rattle off a few potential ideas, but instead, Zigler asked if he could in turn share the concerns with students in his “Making for Social Good” class.
Before long, a group of 10 students at the school went to work brainstorming, gathering information, running tests, and ultimately constructing a device that safely allows King — and other parents with impeded mobility — to safely stroll with a child.
High School Students Create Wheelchair Stroller for Teacher’s Husband
According to the Post, “The class, which decided to name the project ‘WheeStroll,’ was divided into two teams: One group set out to build an apparatus that would attach an infant car seat to a wheelchair, while the other sought to create a contraption that would safely secure a stroller to a wheelchair for when the child is older.”
In the end, the two teams combined their designs to make the finished product, which, according to an instructional guide posted online by Zigler, can be easily constructed at home after the purchase of supplies.
WRC-TV reported that the students’ hard work has not gone unrecognized. Their project was entered into an international competition hosted by PrintLab, Autodesk, and partners, and ended up coming away with awards for the “Best Inspirational Story” and “Best Showcase of Iterative Design” for the 14-18 age group.
They weren’t in it for the accolades, though. Simply helping someone in the community enjoy an activity others often take for granted was more than enough of a reward.
“These students gave me the opportunity to do something I thought I would never be able to do,” Jeremy said, according to the Post. “I’m really grateful.”