HILLSBORO, Ore. -- A nonprofit organization in Oregon that builds costumes for kids in wheelchairs has won an online competition to get a 3D printer. Now there's a lot of excitement about the new possibilities that may be on the horizon.
The nonprofit, Magic Wheelchair, has been around since 2014. Since then, its projects have been changing kids’ lives. Last year, Christine Getman with Magic Wheelchair says the organization made custom costumes for about 100 kids.
One of the kids who has benefited is 13-year-old Cassie Hudson. Her life hasn't been easy. She's had 18 surgeries so far. Number 19 is coming up in about a week.
“[I’m] nervous. I don’t like hospital visits,” Cassie said.
She has spina bifida, a condition that means her spine didn't develop like it should have when she was born. It can't be cured.
“I get a lot of surgeries and hospital visits. It’s not fun,” said Cassie.
The near-constant visits took a toll. Cassie’s mom, Tess Hudson said doctors even considered putting her on anti-depressants. But two years ago, Cassie’s life changed the moment she got a very special costume.
“It was the Arrow cycle, Arrow's motorcycle,” she said.
One of Cassie’s physical therapists referred her to Magic Wheelchair and she got a chance to become her favorite superhero: The Arrow. She even got the motorcycle he rides.
To some, a costume is just a costume. But for Cassie it's much more.
“I started being more social toward people, so not closing myself off from everybody,” said Cassie.
In addition, she has also discovered a new love: attending comic cons. They’re conventions where people dress up in fictional characters.
Hudson said everywhere Cassie goes, everyone takes pictures or wants to talk to her.
She said Cassie gains confidence every time attends a comic con in her costume and now that confidence is trickling into real life.
Magic Wheelchair just won a 3D printer, thanks to an online competition. Staff say they hope to make their costumes even cooler.
“We won't stop until everybody has a costume… and just feel like a normal rockstar kid,” said Getman.
Cassie is planning to look pretty cool this weekend at the next convention on Saturday “Walker Stalker Con” also known as “Heroes and Villains.” Getman said there will be another fundraising opportunity for Magic Wheelchair as well. They’ve partnered with the Star Wars Oregon troop, Cloud City Garrison to fundraise.