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Magic Wheelchair: Oregon family's mission to help kids

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Keaton and Bryce Weimer, riding on their epic Halloween costumes. Keaton and Bryce Weimer, riding on their epic Halloween costumes.
KEIZER, OR (KPTV) -

A Keizer family with a tradition of making epic Halloween costumes for their children who are bound to wheelchairs is launching a nonprofit to build costumes for other kids.

It's called Magic Wheelchair, and the idea was born from Ryan and Lana Weimer's annual ritual of making transformative costumes encompassing wheelchairs for their own sons.

Keaton, 9, and Bryce, 3, both have a form of muscular dystrophy called spinal muscular atrophy. The degenerative disease robs them of the strength to walk, eat and even sometimes breathe.

So far, there is no cure.

But on Halloween, everything changes.

"When kids see him, they don't see him as a kid in a wheelchair, they see him as a kid riding a dragon, and that's awesome," Ryan Weimer said of his son Keaton's latest costume, Toothless the Dragon.

It's an endeavor that takes countless hours – and often thousands of dollars – every year.

"Whatever their imagination is, we do it every year," he added. "Whatever Keaton wants to be, whatever Bryce wants to be, we figure it out, we do it."

Now, the Weimers are gearing up to build five additional Halloween costumes this year, for other wheelchair-bound children.

Potential candidates are encouraged to submit video applications through www.magicwheelchair.org. As long as funding and support are available, Ryan Weimer and his team will handcraft unique costumes for each of them.

The only limitation is their own imagination.

"Who doesn't want to put a smile on a kid's face, make their dreams come true?" said Tammy Hay, a Magic Wheelchair board member.

Her son, Christopher, 9, also has SMA and is the state ambassador for the disease.

"Christopher has gone through and will have to go through more than I think I ever will," she added. "I wish I could take his spot."

"They've been dealt a rough hand, but they're kids and they want to smile. They don't want to think about difficult things," Weimer said. "We just want to bridge gaps and create awareness and put huge smiles on kids' faces and let them fly around on a dragon."

Magic Wheelchair will be launching a new Kickstarter campaign on May 17 to fund the inaugural season. Money raised will not be used to build costumes for the Weimer children or other board members.

To learn more, apply or donate, visit www.magicwheelchair.org.

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