THE BACK­PACK THAT CAN CARRY A MAN!

First News - - Front Page -

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

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