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Elwood boy gets wheelchair turned into DeLorean for Halloween

Cooper Knorr rides his wheelchair DeLorean during a

Cooper Knorr rides his wheelchair DeLorean during a student Halloween parade at the James Boyd Intermediate School in Huntington, Oct. 31, 2017. The nonprofit Magic Wheelchair outfitted Cooper, as they do dozens of children who are wheelchair bound, in elaborate costumes for Halloween. Credit: Johnny Milano

When Cooper Knorr put on his Halloween costume Tuesday morning, it was a scene “Back to the Future”’s Doc Brown would have admired.

Knorr, 10, debuted a time-traveling DeLorean costume, a massive 8-by-4 feet structure custom made to fit his wheelchair, Tuesday at James H. Boyd Intermediate School’s Halloween parade in Elwood. The costume came courtesy of Magic Wheelchair, an Oregon nonprofit that builds costumes for children with wheelchairs.

The costume came complete with working headlights, a bright digital clock and a flux capacitor, just like in “Back to the Future.”

“A lot of the kids were like ‘whoa, that’s so cool,’” Knorr, a fifth grader from Elwood, said. “I was thinking in my head, ‘Cooper this is the coolest ever, you’re dreaming.’”

Knorr is a big fan of the 1980s, his parents Nicole Knorr, 45, and Christine Brown, 43, said.

“He carries around a boombox,” Brown said. “He even had an 80s 10th birthday party.”

But his favorite of all is the 1985 movie “Back to the Future.” Cooper Knorr estimates he’s seen it “probably 70 times” and idolizes main character Marty McFly.

When the family found out about Magic Wheelchair this summer, Knorr didn’t hesitate to share his dream costume: he wanted to ride in Halloween style in a DeLorean.

Knorr has brittle bone disease, a rare genetic condition that causes bone weakness, Nicole Knorr said. A wheelchair helps protect his bones, but it also makes Halloween a challenge.

That’s a situation Oregon-based Magic Wheelchair aims to help, said development director Christine Getman.

Families send in application videos and the organization chooses as many as they can afford, then organizes materials and a volunteer builder to get to work on each child’s dream costume.

Volunteers Adam and Alicia Carpenter spent six weeks building Knorr’s costume in the living room of their Astoria, Queens, apartment. Alicia, 31, a prop designer, said they visited with the family five times to get it just right.

“I’m really all about the aesthetics,” she said. “I got really excited about all the details and worked backward on the structure.”

They wired the lights and clock to a small panel so Knorr could control them and built the flux capacitor out of a cash box. The entire costume can be broken into three lightweight pieces, mostly made of wood and insulation, for easy travel, she said.

Knorr said he was thrilled when his DeLorean finally arrived at his home on Thursday.

“I was expecting a box and some buttons, but what it turned out being was this whole elaborate thing with the lights,” he said.

He said he’s going to wear it as often as he can to help raise money for Magic Wheelchair. He wants other children to be able to get a costume like his DeLorean.

“I want to raise money for other kids to feel the same way I did when I got to see my magic wheelchair,” he said. “It just turned out amazing.”

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