Back to Top

The Former Wish Kid Who Backpacked Europe (As a Human Backpack)

Meet Kevan.

Kevan has a rare neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and uses a wheelchair to navigate life. He grew up in the foothills of North Carolina with his parents and two siblings. Although SMA progressively weakens his muscles, Kevan is an adventurer – one who is dedicated to making the world more accessible.

During the summer of 2016, he and six of his friends came up with a bold plan: They set out to explore Europe and leave Kevan’s wheelchair behind. They engineered a special backpack, and his friends took turns carrying him along their journey.

They spent three weeks exploring places deemed “inaccessible.” They danced in the streets of Paris, hiked the English countryside and scaled a mountainous island off the coast of Ireland. Kevan wanted to show people that the world can be accessible if you’re willing to get creative.

In 1992, decades before he was traveling the world in a backpack, Kevan and his family visited Give Kids The World Village. He remembers enjoying time with his parents and siblings and coming back to his villa filled with surprises.

“It’s such a magical place, I still have feelings from there – more than the memories I remember how it made me feel,” said Kevan. “I love places like the Village that are accessible, there are places in the world that are never going to be like that.”

Now 32 years old, Kevan published a book about his experience and continues to travel while running We Carry Kevan, a nonprofit striving to redefine accessibility.

“The idea that people think ‘there’s no way to do this’ or ‘you can’t do this,’ I refuse to believe that. We can have so much more hope than that.”


Shop at Amazon Smile
%d bloggers like this: