SUN VALLEY, Idaho (KIVI) - A 3-year-old boy in Idaho who has difficulties using his arms and legs will now get the opportunity to play outdoors like other kids, thanks to a specialized off-road wheelchair.
Saturday marked a special day for the Wallace family as 3-year-old Teddy received a new off-road wheelchair. The boy was born with arthrogryposis, a condition that makes it difficult for him to use his arms and legs.
“It’s just been such a blessing. I was definitely crying,” said Beth Wallace, Teddy’s mother. “He has had nine surgeries in his short 3 and a half years of life. He has physical therapy every week and occupational therapy and has been through a lot.”
The Wallace family received a grant through the Challenged Athletes Foundation of Idaho, which has a mission to empower lives through sport. They were surprised with a specially designed GRIT off-road wheelchair.
“So, GRIT is in the market for off-road wheelchairs but always for adults. When we brought the idea to them to say our kids really want to do it, too, they were a willing partner in saying, ‘Let’s brainstorm this together and do it the right way,’” said Jenn Skeesick with CAF.
For the last eight months, GRIT and CAF worked to design a wheelchair for children, and Teddy got the first one ever built.
“We are really trying to push the envelope on innovation and saying, ‘How can we get our kids out there faster, so that they can fall in love with the outdoors just as quickly as their peers?’ Today was where we knocked down one of those walls,” Skeesick said.
CAF helped nearly 4,000 people all over the world in 2020 with grants worth almost $6 million.
For families like the Wallaces, that help is priceless, and they look forward to seeing what the new wheelchair will mean for Teddy in the future.
“We love the Challenged Athletes Foundation. We are so grateful for their support, how they have embraced us as a family,” Wallace said. “It’s just going to be so great to see him adapt to it.”