2010 Mario driving his Kart. Photo from Cassie McLelland.
MANSFIELD, Texas (KTVU) - A 10-year-old boy with Spina Bifida, along with his mom, help raise awareness with his creative Halloween costumes.
Caleb McLelland was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect that causes permanent damage to the spinal nerves.
For Caleb, his diagnosis means limited strength and mobility from the waist down.
Caleb got his first wheelchair when he was 2.5 years old.
Caleb's mom Cassie tells KTVU she thought it would be fun to incorporate his chair into his Halloween costume that year.
At the time Caleb loved the popular show ‘Bob the Builder.’ Cassie developed a plan and transformed his wheelchair into a front loader/backhoe construction truck.
“That was my first wheelchair costume and it was a big hit. I've been making wheelchair costumes every year since,” said Cassie.
She says now that Caleb is getting older, he will come up with the ideas and she’ll execute them.
“His costumes definitely draw a lot of attention and of course he loves it. It has become the thing we do every year so there is always a lot of anticipation to find out what the next costume will be. We have a great time with the whole thing,” she said.
The creative costumes come at the perfect time since October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. “(I’d like to) show people what Spina Bifida looks like, and it looks pretty good,” said Cassie.
Cassie recently opened a shop of custom made wheelchair costumes on Etsy.
“I think there are a lot of parents that love the idea of a wheelchair costume but don't necessarily want to build one. It took trial and error but I figured out an effective way to create wheelchair costume kits for purchase,” said Cassie.
So far Cassie has sold about 20 kits, which has exceeded her expectations.
“I have loved hearing from customers and seeing photos of their kids in my costumes. It's so fun,” she said.