Grand Rapids, Mich. — Halloween is a memory maker for kids. West Michigan organizations and parents are making sure that a hospital stay or wheelchair doesn’t get in the way this year.
Jane and Chris Weatherford are the linchpins. Their 9-year-old son, Cam, has cerebral palsy and uses a power wheelchair to get around. For the past several years, Jane and Chris have transformed the chair into a fire engine, school bus and army tank. This year, Cam is going to be a Grand Rapids Police SWAT officer. His “car” comes complete with lights and sirens.
Mary Free Bed and Owen-Ames-Kimball (OAK) are both celebrating their 125th anniversaries and are joining forces to make some Halloween magic by way of the Halloween for the Rest of Us program. Grand Valley State University (GVSU) engineering students are pitching in, and Forest Hills Central High School is sending the pep band to lead a Halloween parade. Children of adults currently hospitalized at Mary Free Bed also are included in the parade fun.
The schedule of events is below. Costumes will be created and constructed at Mary Free Bed.
Friday, October 21
- OAK delivers donated materials
- GVSU engineering students begin building wheelchair costume foundations
- 3:30 pm Media invited
Saturday, October 22
- OAK and Mary Free Bed volunteers create and construct costumes
- 1 pm Media invited
Saturday, October 29
- 4 pm Halloween for the Rest of Us parade
- Forest Hills Pep Band leads the parade around the Mary Free Bed block (Jefferson Avenue and Wealthy Street) – Cam Weatherford as Grand Marshall
- Everyone is welcome