Hallowheels 2019: RUC students help children with special needs design costumes for Halloween

Students from the Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs, as well as the Occupational Therapy (OT) program, teamed up to help local children with special needs prepare for Halloween through a fundraising initiative called “Hallowheels.”

PTA, DPT and OT students with one of the children participating in Hallowheels 2019.

Coordinated by Children’s Assistive Technology Service (CATS), Hallowheels pairs the teams of students with a child, age 4-16, who depends on a wheelchair for mobility. The students then work with the children and their families to design and build removable costume frames for their wheelchairs.

“It's just really important to give back to the community,” said OTA student Crissy Palmer to WSLS news. “We’re doing all these learning and foundational activities about how to accommodate people with disabilities, so this is just one of the ways you really learn what it's like to be in a wheelchair.”

Participation in Hallowheels 2019 is four times the size of events in 2017 and 2018.

In addition to the PTA, DPT and OT teams, there are teams from Roanoke College, Virginia Western Community College, Virginia Tech and the Mountain Valley Artisan Barn. According to CATS, the participation this year is four times the size of events in 2017 and 2018.

Additional Hallowheels events are taking place in Lynchburg, Charlottesville and Richmond.

CATS had a costume reveal and parade on October 26, 2019, and there is now online voting to choose the best costume. Each vote costs $1 with proceeds going to cleaning, refurbishing, storing and transporting adaptive devices and mobility equipment for children in need.

View the costumes photos and vote online at the Children’s Assistive Technology Service (CATS) Hallowheels Fundraiser website


All of the Roanoke Hallowheels 2019 teams with the children and the families they worked with this year.

Oct 31, 2019
Mark Lambert