Three children will trick or treat in style thanks to teams of graduate students from the Radford University Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Communication Sciences and Disorders (COSD) Departments.
The students pitched in to custom-make costumes for the Hallowheels contest, sponsored by Children’s Assistive Technology Service (CATS), a nonprofit organization that recycles used assistive equipment, such as wheelchairs, in children’s sizes.
The various costumes are part of an online costume judging fundraising contest for CATS.
The team of third-year DPT students included Sarah Miller, Andie Stanley, Loren Favale, Summer Hoyle, Anusha Atyam, Natalie Howarth and Erica Boggs.
“This project was incredibly fun. We got to meet our child and his family back in September to plan the design for the costume. Our child was extremely interested in Boss Baby, so we asked him a ton of questions to include everything he wanted in the costume,” said Miller.
The DPT third years then worked outside class to assemble, design and decorate the costume that includes a floating fabricated frame for a power wheelchair that moves up and down.
Julianne Bal, Kyle Barger, Shelby Brown, Lindsey Cash, Haily Cook, Ross Copeland, David Furrow, Molly Hilt, Chelsea Moseley, Tori Repass, Andy Smith, Perry Smith, Nikki Smoot, Garrett Van Nutt and Ashley Zimmerman made up the DPT second-year student team. Their objective was to make a Superman costume.
Miller and her team were inspired by the enthusiasm of both the child and the family for whom they designed the costume.
“Our child’s mom was super excited about the design. She even dressed our child’s little sister up as Superwoman to coordinate,” said Miller.
According to Miller, the costume includes artistic flourishes.
“We added battery-operated lights for stars and glow-in-the-dark paint for the lights in the building windows. We also made 3-D clouds using pillow stuffing in the starry night to cover the seams between our pieces of cardboard,” Miller said.
The big moment was the reveal of the teams’ finished products to the children.
“It was wonderful to see the response from our child and his mom,” said Miller.
Zimmerman enjoyed the same good feeling
“When the costume was put on our child’s wheelchair, he was so excited. It was fun to see his happiness and play with him,” Zimmerman said.
A third costume was designed by a team of COSD students and members of the Radford chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.
COSD senior Emily Wood talked about the challenges overcome.
“I do not sew,” said Wood. “Luckily, Kelly DeCao saved the day and sewed the tail.”
Like her DPT colleagues, Wood found the experience rewarding.
“It was a lot of fun to get creative and do something special for someone. However, I am a person who worries about everything. I know seeing the smile on her face made all of the stress worth it,” Wood said.
— Don Bowman