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Students adapt wheelchair for teacher's husband and baby

CBS News logo CBS News 7/26/2021 Chip Reid
a man and a woman sitting on a motorcycle: chelsie-jeremy-baby-3-wks-old-chelsie-king-1.jpg © Chelsie King chelsie-jeremy-baby-3-wks-old-chelsie-king-1.jpg

When Phoenix King was born four months ago, his parents Jeremy and Chelsie faced a difficult road ahead. Jeremy had brain surgery three years ago to remove a brain tumor, Chelsie said, which left him with what she described as "some physical challenges and physical disabilities." 

One big question: How could Jeremy safely take Phoenix for a walk? 

Chelsie, a teacher at Bullis School, a private school in Potomac, Maryland, reached out to the head of the school's technology lab Matt Zigler. He then presented the challenge to his students — including Jacob Zlotnitsky and Ibenka Espinoza, both of whom hope to study astrophysics in college. 

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The students designed a life-changing invention for Jeremy, who is now able to enjoy the simple pleasure of taking a stroll with his family. 

Prototypes for the WheeStroll, as they call it, were made using a 3D printer. The students designed custom brackets and shaped aluminum maker pipe to secure the wheelchair and stroller together. 

Students work on their invention, the WheeStroll, which adapts a wheelchair to allow the person to push a stroller.  / Credit: Mark Riffee / Bullis School © Provided by CBS News Students work on their invention, the WheeStroll, which adapts a wheelchair to allow the person to push a stroller.  / Credit: Mark Riffee / Bullis School

"I think they dumped a bunch of cinderblocks in it and actually weight-tested it at the school a couple times, which I think the kids were really into," Chelsie said of the design. 

Their design won two international design awards — and for Jeremy, it's a godsend. "I never thought I'd be able to do something like this safely," he said. "I feel wonderful. I feel ecstatic." 

Zlotnitsky said "seeing the smiles on their faces" was the best part about coming up with the successful design. 

"The relief that, oof, it worked," added Espinoza. 

a man and a woman sitting on a bicycle: Chelsie and Jeremy King go for a walk with their son.  / Credit: Chelsie King © Provided by CBS News Chelsie and Jeremy King go for a walk with their son.  / Credit: Chelsie King
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