Group creates elaborate, custom Halloween costumes for children in wheelchairs

Daniel gets a new wheelchair - KATU photo

It started with a pirate ship - an elaborate Halloween costume complete with a slew of black sails and wooden siding.

Ryan Weimer's son Keaton, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, was three at the time.

"They saw him totally different. They saw him just as a regular kid. They didn't see the wheelchair first. They saw him and that barrier that we have in society when we see somebody in a wheelchair was completely gone. As a dad seeing that and having people see my son the same way I see him and him being included and kids coming right up to him, I was like, man, we got to do this for other families," Weimer told KATU News.

The experience inspired Weimer and his wife to start Magic Wheelchair. With the help of volunteers; which range from engineers to special effects experts, Weimer outfits children in wheelchairs with custom Halloween costumes. Some completed costumes include a light-up ice princess throne, jet liner and a green dragon that looks like something out of a movie.

According to Weimer, who works full-time as a registered nurse and has three children with SMA, each costume takes anywhere from 100-300 hours.

"When she had this costume on last Halloween, I actually walked behind her and filmed people's reactions and for once it was them going, 'Cool! Can I take a picture with you?'Joey Razzano, whose daughter Jade received her Sponge Bob Square Pants boat mobile last year. "That's been the best part of it for us, and for her too, to be included like every other kids deserves to be. "

Saturday was Daniel's day.

The 8-year-old boy has terminal cancer. Inside OHSU - in front of a sea of light sabers - he was Darth Vader careering through hyperspace in his Tie Fighter at lightspeed.

Weimer, who says the mission of Magic Wheelchair is to put an "epic smile" on each child's face, says they try to make each costume reveal special. During Daniel's reveal. they had Star Wars characters Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Chewbacca standing nearby as they pulled the cover off the completed costume. Theme music played in the background as hundreds in the crowd, wielding colored light sabers, cheered.

"There were definite tears -- Definite tears and being able to see the look on his face when they actually took the cover off and he got to see it," Daniel's mother, Jessica Thomas, said. "They're doing this just to make children feel amazing and it's -- it's a beautiful thing. "

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