wheelchair

Archer Hadley cannot get in or out of his high school without someone else’s help. He uses an electric wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, and his school, Austin High, doesn’t have automatic doors.

Austin High was built back in 1975 and according to Texas law is not required to have automatic doors. One day, after getting stuck out in the rain, Hadley decided enough was enough. He petitioned his school district to get automatic doors put in, but they said it would be too expensive, costing the district $40,000.

So Hadley decided to raise the money himself. How? By starting a wheelchair challenge.

The concept is similar to the popular ALS ice bucket challenge. Students and faculty at Austin High challenge one another to use a wheelchair for a day. Every person who nominates someone donates $20. Then the person who is nominated either completes the challenge or pays $20 to get out of it.

At the end of the first day, the challenge had made $8,000. “I’m thoroughly confident we will raise that money,” said Hadley. “Nothing is going to stop me from achieving this.”

The challenge has been well received at Austin High, with students and even the head coach getting involved. Not only are they helping Hadley reach his goal, they’re experiencing what it’s like to sit in Hadley’s shoes for a day. “We’ve had many people comment that they never realized that somebody in a wheelchair or walker or crutches can’t get into or out of the building,” said Barabara Hadley, Archer’s mom.

If the wheelchair challenge can raise the required money in time, the plan is to install the automatic doors over Christmas break.