Hot Wheels is expanding its representation for those who use wheelchairs – including the company’s first remote-controlled wheelchair toy.
The toy was created in collaboration with five-time wheelchair motocross world champion and Paralympic athlete Aaron “Wheels” Foderingham. Fatherringham, who was born with a spina bifida and has been a full-time wheelchair user since the age of eight, is known for his wide range of techniques and back flip in his wheelchair.
The toy, available from Amazon toy maker Mattel, was designed to mimic Foderingham’s custom-built wheelchair and features a built-in action figure, a remote control and a ramp to allow users to perform similar techniques.
For Fatheringham, collaboration is a dream come true. “Growing up, I didn’t have anything like that,” the athlete told CNN. At the toy’s launch event, he saw kids, including wheelchair users, “having fun” with the toy. “You can see their faces bright,” he said.
The toy “really gives you freedom of imagination.”
Fatheringham’s wheelchair motocross career began when he went to a skate park when he was just eight years old. Her brother advised her to try to get down on the skate ramp in her wheelchair. After several failed attempts, he finally succeeded.
“Then I gave up everything else and became obsessed with skate parks,” he said.
“What I’ve enjoyed about going to skate parks and what I still enjoy is being able to be as creative as you want,” Foderingham added. “You’re not really upset. If you’re upset, you’re not improving.”
The athlete said he “couldn’t believe it” when Hot Wheels approached him for a partnership. “My biggest compliment was the desire to have a chair for hot wheels,” he said.
He hopes the toy will help change public perceptions about wheelchairs, showing that even a medical device can be fun and adventurous. “I think (the remote-controlled toy) is great because it really does bring a positive, fun light to something that would otherwise make people very serious.”
Gary Cody, director of Mattel’s Hot Wheels RC and product design for innovation, said he hopes the toy will inspire children to push through the perceived limitations of the past.
“We are excited about our recent collaboration with Aaron‘ Wheels ’Fotheringham and the introduction of our first Hot Wheels R / C wheelchair toy, which further strengthens our goal to inspire kids to break boundaries and pursue their dreams no matter what their personal challenges. Mouth, ”Cody said in a statement shared with CNN.
“We worked closely with Aaron to make sure this product was a perfect representation of his wheelchair and a fun toy to play with. We can’t wait to see all the stories of the first such toys. ”