Austin Hethcoat, an enthusiastic 12-year-old, has been using a wheelchair all his life. He developed a rare neurological disorder when he was just a couple of months old which resulted in paralysis from the waist down.
His light wheelchair hinders him to go fishing with his dad, to enjoy the winter, and even to visit their own backyard. Not wanting the boy to stay at home and miss out on the activities he loves, his family used crowd funding to buy him a better mobility chair.
Like any youngster, Austin loves to go outside and play hoops, have fun with friends and enjoy quality time with his family outdoors. But his lightweight wheelchair would not allow him to go to places that are not paved. Wherever there is sand, mud, snow, or grass, Austin cannot go because his wheelchair is not designed to tread anywhere unpaved or off-road.
His mom, Becci Hethcoat, stated that the entire family loved to spend quality time outdoors when Austin was just a little boy. His dad, Tim Hethcoat, often carried him or put him up on his shoulders. Back then, going on a trip and enjoying open-air activities was so easy. But as Austin began using a mobility device, the family would still try to go out, though not as much as before, because of his chair’s limitation.
Becci also added that as time passed, Austin and his friends started to become interested in a lot of different sports and outdoor activities, like hockey and basketball. And since her son’s mobility device can’t often go to locations where the games are held or played, Austin’s invites dropped away and so did his friends.
The Hethcoats do not want to Austin to be limited, in terms of going to places and visiting other areas because of his chair. But insurance companies, unfortunately, do not cover the purchase of specialty chairs and the price of these devices is just too expensive for the family. And so they decided to raise funds to buy Austin his very own Action Trackchair.
In just a span of nine days, the family already raised more than $2,000 using their page at gofundme, a website for fundraising and crowdfunding. Several local businesses also donated and received a personal message of thanks from Austin. Generous people from other states also pitched in to help the Hethcoats purchase the chair for the young lad.
Becci expressed that her family are very thankful for the warm response and the generosity of a lot of people. She is very eager, as well as the entire family, to take Austin outdoors and enjoy together the activities they used to do back when he was young.
Tim stated that his son wants to do archery, go fishing, visit new places and many more when the chair arrives. He is grateful for everyone who wants to see Austin enjoy the outdoors more and as often as he can.
Austin, hopeful and excited for his new trackchair, said he wanted to do a lot of things. But the first on his list is to go out in their backyard and play with Ella, his younger sister, and Shawn, his brother.