10/31/17 Press are invited to a magical Halloween for a Framingham girl with a rare disease.



The press are invited to attend Dalia's dream Halloween, as she trick or treats on the streets of Framingham in her new My Little Pony cloud chariot built by Magic Wheelchair.



Disorder: The Rare Disease Film Festival is pleased to partner with MagicWheelchair.org and with support from Shire, we were able to present a custom built, dream-come-true wheelchair Halloween costume to a child with a rare disease in our audience after one of our film screenings.

"We were so excited to be invited to be part of Disorder and to be sharing what we do with all those who come to learn a little bit more about families like ours.” said Ryan Weimer founder of Magic Wheelchair and father to boys with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.


Dalia Flaggert is a young girl with MERFF Syndrome, a Mitochondrial disease, and her wish was to have her wheelchair transformed into a magical pony ride.


“Meeting Dalia and her family and seeing her face light up when her costume was revealed were definite highlights of our festival,” says event co-founder Bo Bigelow, himself a rare disease parent.


“Dalia spends every day confined to her wheelchair; transforming it into something magical is a gift beyond measure. To receive it in the context of the rare disease film festival is an incredible way to spotlight MERRF Syndrome and to help show what life is like for kids with rare diseases,” said Jessica Fein, Dalia's mother.

“These costumes transform not only the wheelchairs but the way the child is perceived. She becomes a hero. Showing how these people with rare disorders not just live their lives, but find the adaptations and accommodations and the surprising joys in life is what our film festival is all about,” said Daniel DeFabio co-founder of the film festival.

The elaborate wheelchair costume was built by team of local volunteers lead by Bonnie Regan.

"When I saw a post from Magic Wheelchair come across my newsfeed on Facebook, I knew I had to volunteer to help out with a build. To be able to give a magical moment to a deserving kid like Dalia is an honor. Revealing the costume at the film festival and bringing awareness to rare diseases just adds another positive layer to the whole experience," said Regan.

“Halloween can be tough for children in wheelchairs. Just think how few front doors are ramp accessible. Getting their wheelchair transformed into one of the coolest costumes in town helps bring these kids back into the fun,” said DeFabio.



Ryan and Lana Weimer, the founders of Magic Wheelchair, have five children, three of whom were born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which requires the use of wheelchairs for the entirety of their lives.

Each Halloween, Ryan made the biggest, “baddest” costumes he could for his sons, Keaton and Bryce. Once news of these costumes spread, Ryan began receiving requests from parents around the world asking if he would transform their kids’ wheelchairs into “magic”.

In 2015, Ryan and Lana decided to make that happen and started Magic Wheelchair, the non-pro t organization that seeks to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair by transforming their wheelchairs into awesomeness created by volunteer hands and kids’ imaginations. They give kids in wheelchairs an unforgettable experience by creating custom costumes for them at no expense to their families.



Disorder: The Rare Disease Film Festival screened more than 30 films over two days, shining a light on life with two dozen different rare diseases. It was founded by two rare disease dads hoping to spark more conversations, collaborations and maybe cures.

Between the slates of films rare disease researchers and patient advocates shared stories from their experience. The event had support from NORD, The Mighty, RDUF, MassBio, Global Genes, Magic Wheelchair,  Rare genomics Institute, Shire, Vertex, Sanofi Genzyme, Premier Research, The Menkes Foundation, The Patient Experience Project, Horizon Pharma, 32 Mile Media, Alnylam, Cambridge BioMarketing, and FDNA.



Press contact:

Daniel DeFabio


Press photos of Dalia are available
Broadcast or web video clips are available on request.


The list of our films is online at https://www.rarediseasefilmfestival.com/selection2017

Photos and videos of other Magic Wheelchair costumes are online at www.magicwheelchair.org