We usually tend to associate disabilities and wheelchairs with adults or seniors, and sometimes forget that even newborn babies can have limited mobility. A couple from Webster, NY had them in mind when they came up with the new idea on how to help young children with disabilities: mini-wheelchairs.
Let's Help Children
Rebecca Orr and her husband Marty Parzinski have been working on their idea for more than a year. The mini wheelchairs are called Bella’s Bumba and are designed to help the little ones fighting spina bifida. The illness is the cause of the paralysis of the lower limbs due to spinal cords being exposed through a gap in the backbone.
The idea came to them when their niece Bella was born in 2015. She was diagnosed with the condition, and the couple found out that the child couldn't move or even interact with her parents and other children. They had to turn her and face her towards anyone talking to her. The child was a prisoner in her body, entirely dependent on her relatives or friends.
You’re on Your Own
The problem is that the public insurance doesn't pay wheelchairs for children younger than four since they grow so quickly. The mini-wheelchairs available on the market similar to the Bella’s Bumba cost more than $1,000. Such an amount of money can mean a huge burden for the family that is already paying for additional medical procedures.
Marty and Rebecca used an infant seat and tires from a child's bicycle to create the wheelchair for Bella. It took a while for her to get used to it, but soon she could easily move around her home and playground. She found her mobility, and her quality of life significantly improved.
Spreading the Word
When the couple saw what a huge success the mini-wheelchair was in the case of their niece, they started to share the photos and videos through their Facebook page. They have also put a note on the community website of parents with children struggling with spina bifida. Many families who couldn't afford to buy the commercial product contacted the couple, and Marty and Rebecca started the serial production of Bella’s Bumba. Up to this day, they have shipped five wheelchairs, and 22 more orders are pending.
Their success became a huge source of hope for parents of other similarly affected children. They can now get a necessary equipment for their child without needing to pay huge sums for the products offered in the commercial markets. Mini-wheelchairs help the children not only to get their mobility, but also to spend their childhood similarly as their friends do.
The First Step
Marty and Rebecca don’t only help parents ease their duties when caring for their child, though. Apart from the increase in the happiness of the children, Bella’s Bumbas also contribute to the development of the coordination and help to strengthen the upper body muscles. It thus makes possible to teach the child how to crawl and later to walk properly with the walker. The mini-wheelchair represents only the first step in the improvement of the health condition of the children.
Image credit: Dailymail.co.uk