After Buffalo, NY, parents Jeffrey and Sonya Shorr learned of their new baby Bella’s spina bifida, they became determined to make sure she could participate in all the fun things life has to offer.
Spina bifida is a birth defect in which the neural tube from the brain and the spinal cord do not form correctly. It has left now nearly 2-year-old Bella paralyzed in the lower half of her body. The toddler was unable to move from the spot where she was placed and to interact freely with her siblings. And unfortunately, since children grow so rapidly, the Shorr’s insurance plan doesn’t cover wheelchairs for under fours. A commercial model for a child Bella’s age would cost more than $1,000 (US). However, thanks to an awesome family effort, the condition is no longer stopping Bella from getting around independently.
Marty Parzynski, a former mechanical maintenance specialist and Bella’s uncle, built his niece her very own wheelchair out of a Bumbo seat and stroller wheels, modeled after a prototype on Pinterest. The chair even had its own braking system. Bella quickly took to her new mode of moving around.
“Bella was wheeling around the house and was able to go outside,” her father, Jeffrey, told TODAY. “She could chase her siblings up and down the sidewalk when they were riding their Big Wheels.”
Now, with her pink DIY wheelchair, Bella is unstoppable. She was even able to visit her local splash pad, an experience her parents had only once dreamed possible.
Seeing the life-changing effects of the chair on their daughter, Bella’s family realized they wanted to help other kids with mobility challenges. They created the Facebook group, Bella’s Bumbas, through which they take orders for chairs just like Bella’s so that other children can experience the same freedom. And the generosity doesn’t stop there—Bella’s Bumbas are free, thanks to their ongoing GoFundMe campaign.
“The joy that it brings to Bella was really the driving force,” Shorr told Babble. “We just knew that the kids who receive a chair from us would experience the same feeling.”
This family’s commitment to making life easier, not just for their daughter, but for other families too, is truly something to celebrate. As orders—and donations—start coming in thick and fast (, we’re thrilled to declare Bella’s Bumbas a freewheeling success.
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