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Portland man makes costume for Florida boy in wheelchair

A young Florida boy has a custom, handmade Halloween costume that he can wear on top of his wheelchair thanks to a Portland man.

Bill Bernhagen’s wife came across the organization Walkin’ & Rollin’ which unites children in wheelchairs with volunteers willing to create costumes for them. In August he selected Caden Rucker from Sunset, Florida from a list of children in the program. Bernhagen chose Rucker, because of the costume he requested – an ice cream truck.

“It was tough,” Bernhagen said. “I thought it would be easy. It wasn’t, but it was fun building it.”

Bernhagen estimates he spent 50-60 hours working on the costume and around $400. Walkin’ & Rollin’ will reimburse the money, and Bernhagen says he’s happy to volunteer his time.

“I would have just been on the couch doing nothing, so I had fun doing it,” he said. “And, that’s the reward.”

Rucker uses a wheelchair and cannot speak because he has Cerebral Palsy. His mother says he enjoys being in the costume, and that it will help him fit in while trick-or-treating.

“This Halloween, Caden is not noticed for his disability or because of his wheelchair but because he has an awesome costume just like the rest of the kids,” Rachel Rucker said.

The ice cream truck costume arrived at the Rucker home last Monday. Caden will get to wear it to two events in addition to Halloween night.

Seth Kovar

Seth Kovar

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