Sterling Heights' Rolling Buddies customizes children's wheelchairs

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Meet Jason Carr of Sterling Heights. Years ago he worked as an engineer for a small mid-Michigan wheelchair company and loved it so much, he decided to break out on his own and began customizing wheelchairs.

"It's a lot of fun, we get a lot of joy out if this, because the people, they need this - not because it is fun or fashionable or anything, but it is because they need it," Carr said.

It's something you probably never thought about, but once you see little wheelchairs decorated with fun panels or cute costumes - and the adorable smiles that follow - you'll start to what Rolling Buddies is all about

"Nothing is pretty, nothing is fashionable, it is all done for functionality," Carr said. "Well our stuff is pretty, it is beautiful and does for style and functionality."

Carr and his wife Melissa began creating decorations for children's wheelchairs. Clip-on panels of their favorite princesses, cartoons, superheroes, sports and so much more. They even have Halloween costumes for the chairs.

Kids love them, and so do parents like Natasha Abbott. Her daughter was born with spina bifida a diagnosis that can be unfamiliar to other children.

"The products they make for the side of the wheel chair it makes the kids more apt to come up and speak to her," Natasha said. "Before she had them, it made kids more scared to talk to her."

Watching children become empowered by their products, Jason and his wife began thinking about other ways to improve the lives of children who depend mobility devices.

They came up with - the adaptive jacket.

"We made a two-piece design that actually makes it 30 seconds to put on a jacket where the current jacket for kids, is about 20 minutes to get it on," Carr said.

The design made possible with the help of self-taught seamstress Bridget Grier, who owns Charm View Sewing in Southfield.

"I got so emotional, just the simple things we take for granted," Bridgett said. "Meeting her in person, when she put it on, it just touched my heart."

All of the products designed by Rolling Buddies are manufactured in Michigan. Jason says it is their mission to bring happiness and joy to families by creating kid-friendly, safe, mom-approved products that helps wheelchair bound kids feel like their lives are limitless.

"The way it helps them, the things it does for their confidence," Natasha said.

"That is probably the most rewarding and pleasurable part about this is the mom's and dad's reactions, just knowing that we did it," Jason said.

Products are for sale on the Rolling Buddies website, Facebook page, etsy and Amazon and they are in the process of creating more adaptive clothing - so stand by.

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