Graydon is a young child with chromosome 18 syndrome. Due to this rare condition, he cannot talk, has very limited mobility, and is sensitive to the touch. His family has a difficult time finding toys he can play with, but they had a brief success with a Fisher-Price Jumperoo. Unfortunately, he quickly outgrew it, leaving the 4-year-old without much to play with.
Having nowhere else to turn, Graydon’s mother, Nichole, contacted V-LINC during its What I Wish for My Child 2011 event to find a solution. “I have looked far and wide for a similar toy for older children and have not been successful in finding one,” she said. “It breaks my heart that his favorite, and only, toy is gone.”
Each semester, V-LINC assigns projects to the high school and college engineering courses it has partnerships with. Not only does that provide the students with valuable experience working for a real client, but they also often split into teams who come up with different prototypes the client can choose between.
During their Spring 2012 semester, student volunteers at CCBC Essex decided to see what they could design for Graydon to allow him to relive the joys of his old toy as safely and comfortably as possible. It must have been his lucky day because Graydon received not one, but two customized jumpers!
One is a redesign of the frame and seat of the original Fisher Price Jumperoo, which can be collapsed for easy transportation.
The other is suspended from a hook on the family’s dining room ceiling.
It wasn’t long after Graydon took his new jumpers home that V-LINC received a card from his family:
Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with your wonderful staff and the students and professor at CCBC. Our family could not have been happier with the results of this project. We are grateful to have Graydon back in a toy that he loves so much. It was so heartbreaking when he got too big to continue using the old one. It’s such a wonderful thing to see the smile on his face now when he gets in and jumps around. Thank you again for this once in a lifetime gift.