High school robotics team builds electric wheelchair for boy whose family couldn't afford one

A group of Minnesota high schoolers built an electric wheelchair for a 2-year-old boy whose family couldn't afford one.

When parents Krissy and Tyler Jackson found out their insurance would not help cover the steep price of a mobility device for their son Cillian, they reached out to the "Rogue Robotics Team" at Farmington High School to see if they could help.

The team's coach, Spencer Elvebak, told KARE that when he presented the idea to the group, his students agreed to help the family without any hesitation.

After a few weeks of dedicated labor and a little help from the University of Delaware's GoBabyGo program, which creates custom vehicles for children with limited mobility, the science-minded high schoolers constructed a special electric wheelchair for Cillian, who has a genetic condition similar to cerebral palsy that makes it difficult to move around.

The customized piece of equipment was created using parts of a Power Wheels riding toy, a harness from a child bicycle carrier and a joystick, which was created using a 3D printer and even has Cillian's name engraved on it.

Similar mobility devices can reportedly cost upwards of $20,000, a hefty price tag Cillian's parents say insurance would not cover due to their son's young age and lack of "maturity and focus to drive an electric wheelchair in a public setting."

Cillian's mother told KARE that her family is extremely thankful for the chair, as it helps her son "explore like he’s never been able to do before."

"These kids took time out of their busy schedules to do this for our son," she said. "We're so grateful."

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