Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

RS&H Creates Wheelchair-Friendly Costumes for Disabled Children; 2-Year-Old Partnership's Goal Is to Make Kids Feel Special on Halloween

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

RS&H Creates Wheelchair-Friendly Costumes for Disabled Children; 2-Year-Old Partnership's Goal Is to Make Kids Feel Special on Halloween

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey

Four-year-old Timothy Donohue wanted a Mickey Mouse Roadster Racer costume for Halloween.

Granting that wish would be no small feat, since the Roadster Racer is a miniature racecar with four big wheels, a big engine and Mickey Mouse ears of various sizes. It also had to be big enough to fit around Timothy's wheelchair - he has a severe neurological disorder - and light enough for his parents to push.

But the folks at RS&H, a Jacksonville engineering and architectural firm, took on that project as well as four other over-the-top costumes for disabled children. Over the past week, they unveiled the results to ecstatic children and their families, all clients of the Independent Living Resource Center which serves disabled people across Northeast Florida.

Timothy's Roadster Racer made its debut Monday.

As it was rolled into the RS&H lobby, his eyes widened and his face was transformed into one huge grin. It only got bigger when he was placed in his new wheelchair, donated by the center, which doubled as the racecar driver's seat.

"Are you ready to go?" asked his brother, James, 5.

"Yeah!" said Timothy.

Later, he did "go" when James joyfully pushed him and his racecar up and down the sidewalk outside the building.

"I don't think he's excited at all," deadpanned his father, Terry Donohue.

Donohue then wondered how they would get the racecar home. But the RS&H staff thought of that too and it was easily disassembled for transport. Also, the parts, mostly made of ethylene-vinyl acetate, or eva, foam are easily repaired by a hot glue gun.

"You guys did a great job, thank you so much," said Timothy's mother, Jamie Donohue. "It is amazing."

The Halloween partnership between RS&H and the Independent Living Resource Center stemmed from the friendship of architect Brandon Pourch and the center's executive director, Tyler Morris. Pourch saw an online video of a parent making a costume for a disabled child and approached Morris about doing the same thing.

The children submitted costume requests and the 12- to 14-member RS&H team - led by Pourch; Jeff Barr, an aviation associate; and David Mantia, a construction administration program manager - took it from there. …

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