A 12-year old boy with dreams of becoming a farmer just got one step closer with a new special wheelchair. The boy, John Ray, lives with muscular dystrophy. In a new video featuring John Ray with his new wheelchair, his mother wrote, “No disabilities here, only new abilities.”
The 19-second video shows John doing work pushing up feed on his family farm. The new track chair allows John to do more work, and he seems excited about the opportunity. It’s given John Ray the opportunity to push feed and do multiple other important farm tasks.
According to the Ontario Farmer, John was born with an extremely rare form of muscular dystrophy.
“When he was born his prognosis was not good. The doctors said with a lot of love they didn’t expect him to live this long,” his mother, Trina said. But the doctors were wrong and now John is doing incredibly well, beating the odds and living his best life on his parent’s farm.
John Ray was Raised to Be a Farmer
“His dad and I had him in a tractor from the age of six weeks old. In fact, his first word was tractor,” Trina said.
John’s family didn’t want to bring John’s regular wheelchair into the barn, and they often had to carry him to and from different locations on the farm, where he’d help out with scooping feed for the chickens. But the family still struggled with ways to help John become more active on the farm. That all changed when his Father Donny saw a wheelchair meant for all sorts of terrain on a hunting show.
Unfortunately, a lot of adaptive equipment is very expensive, and Donny couldn’t get a loan.
“The biggest thing with it, it’s not considered a farm implement so you can’t get a farm loan for it,” he said. But thankfully, Trina found one of those chairs for sale nearby, and they purchased it for John Ray. They had extra support from Donny’s employer, Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd.
Once they bought the chair, Donny outfitted it with a rig perfect for pushing feed. The back of the chair can also pull a decent-sized wagon, making it a solid piece of farm equipment.
Now, John Ray has put the chair to good use.
“We planted 1,500 pounds of potatoes and hooked the wagon to the back of his chair. We just loaded it up and he pulled it down the row,” Donny told the publication. “That’s something he’s never been able to do before. Now, he can go anywhere.”
With this new wheelchair giving Donny new abilities, Trina also said that there needs to be a larger conversation about disabilities in farming.