Dad Builds Accessible Igloo So His Kids With Disabilities Can Enjoy Fun in the Snow
On Sunday, Gregg Eichhorn woke up to snow, presenting the perfect opportunity to build an accessible igloo so his two kids who use wheelchairs could participate in the fun. Eichhorn’s sister, Sarah Brantley, helped him build it. While some people are praising him after an image of the igloo went viral, Eichhorn said it was just another day having fun with his family.
Eichhorn said he used to build igloos as a child and thought it would be fun to do with his kids. Construction began on the igloo after a planning meeting with Eichhorn’s nine adopted children who all have disabilities.
“I had talked it over with the kids and decided we were going to make it so that a wheelchair could roll into it so that Elijah and Zahara could come into the igloo the same as the other kids,” the Ohio dad told The Mighty.
Eichhorn posted a picture on Facebook after they were finished and wrote: “Built this handicap accessible igloo today with my sister. Includes mini igloo and second floor snowball deck. Not the first ambitious I’ve done.”
His friend posted the picture on Reddit and since then the image has gone viral.
Before getting married, Eichhorn and his wife decided they would build their family through adoption. As soon as they were able, they became licensed foster parents. After they missed their first call to be placed with a daughter, they got a call about another child.
“We received a call for Elijah, a terminally ill unhealthy baby boy who was inevitably going to die in about two weeks,” Eichhorn shared, adding that at first he was hesitant about adopting a child with a disability, but followed his faith. “Elijah is now 11 years old and I cannot imagine not having him. He makes me a better person and even taught me to adopt children with medical needs.”
The Eichhorn family now includes several kids with disabilities, and all activities are adapted so everyone can play and participate. This is how the family approaches snow, vacations to the beach or even outings to the park. Though many online commended Eichhorn for the igloo, to him and his family, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
“Our family includes all of our kids in every activity that we can,” he said. “Nothing was super extraordinary about the day.”
Eichhorn also shared the verdict from his kids on their snowy igloo. He said his daughter, Zahara, thought the igloo was hilarious and she enjoyed sitting in the fort for a few minutes. “Zahara is from Uganda, where it doesn’t snow,” Eichhorn said. But Zahara is not the only Eichhorn kid who uses a wheelchair.
“Our son Elijah, who is in a wheelchair, has cortical vision blindness and had his eyes closed most of the morning until we rolled him into the snow fort,” Eichhorn said. “He widely opened up his eyes and was looking around.”
As for all the attention the family is getting from their fun day in the snow, Eichhorn and his wife want others to know that kids with disabilities and medical conditions belong in loving homes.
“Everyone needs a loving family,” Eichhorn said.
All images provided by Gregg Eichhorn.