Rollin’ With Axton: Seniors build costume for local boy in wheelchair


Mary-Kathryn Wert

Writing on a polyvinyl chloride pipe, senior Janella Corpin begins working on a frame for a Chiefs race car costume for the Walkin’ and Rollin’ organization. Corpin and other seniors are creating the costume as a way to earn service hours. Their first work day was held on Sept.17. “It was very hard since I was getting weaker the more I was cutting it,” Corpin said.

Jamie Weiss, Staff Writer

Loud chatter fills the Hammerspace Workshop packed with seniors running around the building as they grab parts for their project. The hum of the saw vibrates the floor as a Chiefs race car begins to take form.
The inspiration for this project — Axton, a 7-year-old boy, who loves to dance, listen to music and laugh. When he was six months old, he stopped breathing and has since been diagnosed with epilepsy and uses a wheelchair.
This Halloween, he will receive a costume created by a group of seniors led by 21st century learning director Matt Peterie.
“I chose this because I am always looking for a good project that allows us to connect with people and make a difference,” Peterie said. “I love how this one brings the artistic and creative side along with the building and making.”
Members of the team have certain roles where they can use their skills to create the costume, including building, designing and marketing. Senior Sofie Hyde is helping to design and decorate the costume.
“I really like art so designing will help this project a lot,” Hyde said. “I will do whatever I can to make the costume the best it can be.”
The Walkin’ and Rollin’ organization gives children with disabilities opportunities to have costumes that would otherwise not be possible — giving them a Halloween to remember.
“We want to know what their dream Halloween is,” Peterie said. “We take all that information and try to create a costume that can fit as part of their wheelchair or their walker, so they can participate in all the Halloween trick-or-treating and parades.”
The students who participate in this event are receiving 10 to 20 service hours, but that is not the only reason senior Justin Walls wants to be involved.
“It is really important to go out and help the less fortunate,” Walls said. “You do not know how many people you can help until you get out there.”
When deciding what costume to create, the group met with Axton and one of his moms to find out his interests.
“He initially wanted to be something really fast, so we thought it was going to be a spaceship or a race car,” Peterie said. “Then, we found out he was a huge Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes fan with some awesome curly dark hair.”
The group’s main goal is to create the race car with Axton dressed up as Patrick Mahomes.
“We decided to do a Chiefs NASCAR theme with the number 15 for Patrick Mahomes,” Walls said. “There is going to be a big arrowhead on the dash, too.”
Meeting with Axton and his family gave the team an opportunity to learn more about his condition and other children like him.
“He is a really sweet and funny kid,” Hyde said.
The final costume will be presented on Oct. 15 where all teams in the Kansas City region will show the costumes to the children and their families.
“We have a lot of work to do in the next four weeks until we are ready to roll this out to Axton,” Peterie said. “I am excited for this group of seniors who are at Miege and everything we have in front of us.”