THE BACKPACK THAT CAN CARRY A MAN!
A NEW backpack isn’t the sort of thing we’d normally bother telling you about.
However, this one is pretty special, because it’s designed to carry a person!
To explain what we’re on about, we need to take you back to the summer of 2015, when a group of seven friends in America wanted to go on a huge tour of Europe, including some pretty hard-to-reach places. The tricky thing was that one of them, Kevan Chandler, has to use a wheelchair. He has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic condition that weakens muscles and limits movement. So, Kevan’s friends decided to invent and make their own backpack, so that they could take turns carrying Kevan, as you can see from these pictures.
The guys went to Paris, but also came over to the UK and Ireland. That included a trip to Skellig Michael, the island off the southwest coast of Ireland that’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and a location for the upcoming Star Wars film, The Last Jedi.
“I remember sitting on the boat after hiking Skellig Michael, still strapped to my friend Tom’s back,” Kevan told First News. “It hit me just what kind of crazy love these guys had for me. I can tell you with confidence that experiencing that kind of love is better than any cure, healing, or sense of independence the world could possibly offer.”
The story could have ended there, but the internet is great at spreading good news as well as bad, and word soon got around. As well as becoming minor celebrities, Kevan and his friends have since set up a non-profit organisation called We Carry Kevan, which aims to help disabled and able-bodied people to work together to make more places accessible for everyone.
And that’s where the backpack comes in, as We Carry Kevan have been working with rucksack company Deuter to create a backpack design that can be sold everywhere, helping more disabled people to get out and about and see the world.
The latest prototype (early design) was sent to Kevan and the gang last week so, hopefully, there’ll be a version available to buy soon.
Kevan and his friends on Skellig Michael and (above right) outside the Royal Albert Hall in London