Rhode Island students build custom cars for injured children

Engineering and physical therapy students from the University of Rhode Island (URI) worked together to create modified toy cars for children in need.

Violet Graney, a 19-month-old girl whose left arm was damaged when a football-sized tumor was removed from it, and Brentyn Theroux, a 5-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, were given motorized cars as Christmas gifts from the university.

The URI students, applying everything they have learned and their own kindness, created specifically modified adjustments to the cars to meet each child’s needs.

For Violet, the students installed a wire that encourages her to use her left hand. For Brentyn, they installed a push button on the car’s steering wheel to be used in place of a foot pedal.

“This is awesome,’’ Vicky Theroux, mother of Brentyn, said. “He’s super smart and very engaging. He wants to do what other kids do. Now he can.’’

The students raised money for the cars through crowd funding and then used the URI network for help in designing the modifications. 

More cars are in the works, and students hope to work on them in the spring. Thus far, the students have raised $2,500 for Lil’ Rhody Riders, a program two of them created.

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University of Rhode Island

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