Access to the World: We Carry Kevan
For individuals with NMD, or any disability, travel is complicated by all kinds of logistical issues and accessibility barriers. There are places and experiences that are "off-limits" to individuals who use wheelchairs because certain destinations just aren’t accessible, or accessible enough. Kevan and friends have broken through those barriers by creating a nonprofit organization that developed a special "adult-size" backpack so that Kevan and his friends could go explore Europe and China, without being tethered to a wheelchair. The backpack allowed his friends to carry him, accessing the parts of these countries he would not have been able to experience from his wheelchair. They have created two documentaries from footage shot from these trips, largely because..."they wanted the proof because no one would have believed it."
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Kevan Chandler grew up in the foothills of North Carolina. He is the youngest of three siblings and the second to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, type 2, a rare neuromuscular disease. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in counseling from John Wesley College. In the summer of 2016, Kevan and his friends took a trip across Europe, leaving his wheelchair at home, and his friends carried him for three weeks in a backpack.
An avid storyteller, Kevan has authored several books, including a memoir of their adventures, We Carry Kevan. He travels and speaks worldwide about his unique life with a disability and has been the featured speaker for a Tedx Talk in Ireland, Talks at Google, and the Rare Disease Conference. In 2017, he was honored as a RARE Champion of Hope by Global Genes. He is also the founder of the nonprofit organization, We Carry Kevan.
Luke Thompson is a friend, travel companion and partner in "We Carry Kevan"
Mindy Henderson is your host, and happens to have been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, type 2 when she was 15 months old. Today, Mindy is the host of this podcast, and is also a motivational speaker and a writer, with her first book set to hit book stores in Fall of 2022.