Hallowheels program highlights costumes made for kids in wheelchairs

Hallowheels program highlights costumes made for kids in wheelchairs

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Volunteers from local colleges designed Halloween costumes for children in wheelchairs. This year, they built them for several kids with the local Children’s Assistive Technology Systems (CATS) program.

From Mader the tow truck to Mickey Mouse.

The costumes were built by local students in the Hallowheels program for a relatively new program in Richmond, called CATS. Its grand opening is slated for April, but it’s already serving the community.
The costumes were built by local students in the Hallowheels program for a relatively new program in Richmond, called CATS. Its grand opening is slated for April, but it’s already serving the community. (Source: NBC12)

“It’s just fun and it’s something for the kids to have a good Halloween costume because you can’t necessarily go to the store and buy something that grand for your child in a wheelchair,” said Erika Jenkins, whose son, Evan, was dressed as Mickey Mouse in his car.

The costumes were built by local students in the Hallowheels program for a relatively new program in Richmond, called CATS. Its grand opening is slated for April, but it’s already serving the community.

The program takes donated equipment like wheelchairs and lifts to families who might not otherwise be able to afford them or who need them because they were denied coverage by insurance.

“The way I found out about CATS was for that exact reason," said Jenkins. "We were trying to get awalking, walker for Evan. He had a stander already and insurance was like basically those are the same thing. Which, one’s mobile and one’s not.”

Evan’s come a long way since he got that stander from CATS - and for his family, it’s meant opportunity - a chance for Evan to be his best.

“It has helped Evan, and a lot of his friends. And, it’s just something that I really care about," said Jenkins. “It’s really special.”

And it’s why Evan’s mom, Erika, and so many other volunteers have joined to help this organization, scrubbing every part of the equipment donated to a medical standard and reassembling it to help another family.

“The walker that we got, his frame is a thousand dollars,” said Jenkins. “Once we start adding, does he need lateral support? Does he need a certain kind of seatbelt? Does he need a headrest? That’s $200, $300 and they keep tacking on those prices. Um, it’s insane.”

The equipment CATS has is free to the families who need it.

You can vote for best costumes, and the proceeds benefit CATS, which relies on volunteers to stay open. Learn more about the program here.

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