Kevan Chandler was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that limits his mobility. He relies on a wheelchair to get around, but when he and his friends decided to take a trip to explore Europe, they realized that it would be nearly impossible for Kevan to have the use of his wheelchair. Many of the places they wanted to go wouldn’t accommodate a wheelchair. Many of the sights they wanted to see had no roads at all.
They decided to work together in an effort that is now known as We Carry Kevan, and led to a fundraiser to design and construct a backpack that would allow them to carry their friend everywhere that they went.
They spent a year saving and fundraising, they set off on their adventure. Four of them took turns carrying Kevan and two spent their time documenting the entire trip.
For three weeks, the friends traveled across Europe, exploring beautiful landscapes, cities, and monuments with Kevan on their backs the entire time.
One of the most beautiful things about it was that I got to go on this adventure with some of my best friends and we could go anywhere and do whatever without having to think about accessibility,” Kevan said. “So in a way we redefined the idea of accessibility in that everything became accessible because we did it differently.”
There is a reality that we [Kevan and his sister] are disabled. It’s not a bad word, it’s not a misconception, we can’t walk. I’ll refer to myself as a cripple. I don’t care because that’s what I am, but I also realise that that’s just a part of who I am, that’s not entirely who I am, so I’m not defined by the wheelchair that I’m in or the strength that I have.”
Now, they work together to help others have adventures of their own, redefining what it means to live, travel, and explore.