Ten members of the Tennessee House of Representatives participated in the Team ALeX “Spend A Day in My Wheels” Challenge on Monday.
Organized by state Rep. Clark Boyd, R-Lebanon, the event challenged the lawmakers to go about their normal daily activities using a wheelchair. The challenge aims to create awareness about the difficulties people with mobility devices face on a daily basis with the goal of making the world more inclusive for everyone.
“I expected it to be difficult, but I had no idea how frustrating it could be to just simply get around. It’s really been an eye-opening experience,” Boyd said.
The challenge was the idea of 14-year-old Alex Johnson, an eighth-grader at Friendship Christian School in Lebanon.
“I designed ‘Spend a Day in My Wheels’ to raise awareness for people with mobility devices,” said Johnson. “My challenge gives people a real-life perspective of the difficulties wheelchair users face on a daily basis. My hope is that through my challenge we can make the world more accessible.”
Johnson has a rare skeletal disorder which left him dependent on a walker and then later a wheelchair beginning in the first grade. He came up with the idea for the challenge in fifth-grade as a way help his able-bodied classmates experience the world from his perspective.
“Our whole community is very supportive of Alex and proud of the effort he’s made to create greater understanding about what it’s like to live with a disability,” Boyd said. “He’s an amazing young man who has found a way to use his disability as an ability to educate others.”
The Permobil Foundation in Lebanon partnered with Team ALeX to provide wheelchairs for the challenge.
The members participating were Boyd, R-Lebanon, Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, Rep. Esther Helton, R-East Ridge, Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, Rep. Dwayne Thompson, R-Cordova, Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, and Rep. Terri Lynn, Weaver, R-Lancaster.
Submitted to the Democrat