There’s a new line of toys that is changing the game for people with paralysis, their families and loved ones. Will Reeve knows firsthand what it was like to want to play with his dad, the late Christopher Reeve. The Superman actor was paralyzed in 1995 after being thrown from a horse and spent the rest of his life working on behalf of people with spinal cord injuries. Now his son is picking up where his dad left off.
Will told People magazine he would have “loved to race cars or toss a ball with my dad, but the technology didn’t exist. Now, thankfully, it does.”
Adaptoys, adapted versions of popular toys, are made for those living with paralysis. There are a few prototypes, like a voice-activated pitching system, and a race car that runs on sip-and-puff technology (where the user breathes into a straw, or wears a headset where a tilt or turn of the head triggers attached motion sensors).
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
In an emotional video, Eric LeGrand, a former football player who endured a paralyzing spinal cord injury during a 2010 game, and Donna Lowich, a grandmother of three who is living with quadriplegia, tried out the toys and explained how they’ve gone from spectators to involved. Adaptoys has not only impacted their lives but the lives of their families.
“It’s amazing to feel that adrenaline rush again; just gives me another little piece of independence back,” LeGrand said.
According to the Adaptoys website, the distribution of the toys relies on a fundraising campaign from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and 360i. The organizations hope to raise enough money to fund the production of at least 100 remote control cars, which will then be given out through a random lottery to people living with paralysis.
Lowich, who can now play with her granddaughter, adds in an Adaptoys press release: “Adaptoys will allow me to be part of her childhood in a more meaningful way and my only hope is that we can bring these accessible toys to many more families. Everyone deserves to play with their loved ones.” That they do.