Mom's shopping cart design changing lives for special needs children

This stay-at-home mom once dreamed her special needs daughter would feel included in day-to-day activities, like grocery shopping. Now, she's making the country more accessible, one shopping cart at a time.

Drew Ann Long of Alabaster, Alabama, remembers just eight short years ago, she was frustrated bringing her daughter Caroline to the grocery store.

"She was about 7 or 8 and she's never walked," Long told "I just wanted some sweet tea that day, and I got so angry that I was struggling in a store, pushing a wheelchair and pulling a cart."

Caroline has Rett syndrome, a degenerative disorder that affects girls almost exclusively, according to the Mayo Clinic. The condition causes problems with muscle movement and coordination.

While her mom was used to putting her in the booster seat of shopping carts or in big-kid sized "fun carts," Caroline was quickly growing out of both options.

"There has never been a special needs cart, which really stunned me," Long explained. "There's such a variety of carts for people in different groups that make you feel comfortable, yet the special needs population was not included. We are such an under-served market."

When she got home, she started doodling the ideal shopping cart on a napkin, equipping it with a backward-facing seat that could hold up to 250 pounds.

Long said she held onto the image for months before finding a company several states away that was willing to create a prototype of her specialized shopping cart.

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