LONGWOOD, Fla. — A boy from Longwood just got a very special gift for his fourth birthday. Evan Schaefer has trouble moving around by himself because of a rare disorder.
Thanks to some Central Florida engineering students, he’s getting around and having fun doing it.
“You can just see the joy. He just lights up that he’s moving himself around,” Evan’s mother Casey Schaefer said.
Evan just got a ride-on car for his fourth birthday. Seeing him move around in it by himself is a gift for his mother.
“Every human should have the ability some way to feel that independence and explore their world,” Schaefer said.
Evan has limited muscle function because of a very rare disorder called Snijders Blok-Campeau Syndrome.
“There are about 100 reported cases worldwide,” Schaefer said.
The University of Central Florida program, Go Baby Go! gives children with limited mobility a chance to move around themselves and have fun.
For their senior project, a group of engineering students partnered with the program to give Evan his new ride.
“We provided an in-car joystick so the child could more easily manipulate the car and drive that way,” Zachary Whitacre said.
Whitacre and the rest of the team met with the Schaeffers and found out exactly what Evan needed before getting to work.
“A lot of the parts were 3-D printed, a lot of physical assembly, a lot of electronic works, protyping, programming, sodering,” Whitacre said. “Something extra that we kind of added was just this little button that would play Evan, the child’s, favorite sounds.”
One of the buttons even plays the UCF fight song.
“Evan doesn’t need to be fixed. We need to fix our world for children like Evan,” Schaefer said.
Written by Matt Lupoli for WESH.