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One family's quest to bring a new kind of wheelchair to toddlers

Homemade wheelchair helps toddler
Homemade wheelchair gives toddler mobility for first time 01:42

Two-year-old Bella Shorr is getting around in ways her family never thought possible.

She was born with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spine that often causes paralysis of the lower limbs. 

"Everywhere we went we had to carry her or put her in a stroller," her mother, Sonya, told CBS News.

That's when Bella's great uncle got involved. Using a plan he found on the Internet, he constructed a wheelchair using a bumbo-like seat for kids, some tires, and a wooden board.

"She's just happy to be free to do what she wants," said Bella's father Jeffrey.

Now, the family is trying to help others in need.

"As we saw her maneuverability and her freedom, coming out of her captive body playing with the other kids, we decided that we would try to make chairs for other children," Martin Parzynski, Bella's great uncle said.

They spread the word on Facebook – calling the wheelchairs "Bella's Bumbas" – and it took off.

In just a few months they've received almost two hundred orders. They've shipped the wheelchairs to children in 40 states and as far away as the Philippines.

The family doesn't charge for the wheelchairs. Families only pay for shipping, a fraction of what it would cost to purchase a typical wheelchair.

They say the smiles they see on the faces of children around the world make it all worth it.

'To be able to be independent, play with their other siblings, you know go outside and play. It's just amazing," Sonya said.

Since the wheelchairs are not commercially manufactured, families must sign a waiver of liability.

Bella's Bumbas also asks that when a child outgrows their chair, the family then donates it to another family.

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