Four-year-old Elizabeth Sidwell has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and, as a result, she can’t walk, talk or feed herself. Her mother had heard about a program, “Go Baby Go,” where volunteer engineers modified toy cars so that children with limited mobility could use them.
Last month, students at the Georgia Institute of Technology brought the program to their school. Through “Go Baby Go,” they turned a pink plastic “Hello Kitty” car into a one-of-a-kind convertible for 4-year-old Elizabeth. The modifications allow Elizabeth to move herself around with the touch of a button.
The team of student volunteers turned 14 other toy cars (many donated by Fisher-Price) into customized power wheels for other young children as well.
“This team of students completely transformed the car. My daughter slumps over and can’t sit up in a chair. They added buttons and pool noodles to it, just regular stuff, and rewired it so that she could sit up unassisted and reach a button to make the wheels go,” said Sidwell.
Divya Achtani, a senior, helped spearhead the project at Georgia Tech this year. She explained that the “Go Baby Go” project was originally founded at the University of Delaware but was brought to her school by a student whose cousin had Spina Bifida. Achtani and some of her classmates took months planning and executing the project. And Sidwell, for one, is grateful for the students’ efforts.
“They went to a lot of trouble and great lengths for our families. And I’m very thankful. Seeing her now in [the car] is a joy.”