One dad wanted his kids with special needs to be able to enjoy a recent snow day in Cincinnati, so he built them a handicap-accessible igloo. In a Reddit post on January 13 that quickly went viral, Gregg Eichhorn shared photos of the family’s wheelchair-friendly snow fort.
“We were already building a snow fort so when we were doing it I said, ‘Hey, let’s build it so that Elijah and Zahara, my two kids in wheelchairs, could use it as well,’” the dad of eight adopted children told People. “We just wanted to be able to include the handicapped kids who wouldn’t be able to participate in the building of it.”
With the help of his sister Sarah Brantley and a few of his other kids (all of whom have special needs), it took Eichhorn five hours to build the igloo, which even had a second-floor snowball deck. But he and wife Katie, who are in the process of adopting their ninth child, said that the effort was well worth it for the joy it brought to Zahara, 19, and Elijah, 9.
The 34-year-old told Good Morning America that Zahara, who has cerebral palsy, “lights up with any attention, so she was excited to go outside and have people out there with her.” And as for Elijah, who has cortical vision impairment, Eichhorn said, “When he went in the fort, his eyes opened instantly and you could see he was processing what was going on as he was surrounded by white. It was very special.”
Eichhorn and wife Katie are currently in the process of adopting their ninth special needs child. Of raising kids with disabilities, he explained to People, “My life is so much better having special needs kids… I would not be the person I am today. I would not have the compassion, the love.”