Editor’s Note: Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life. This story reveals KOIN’s 2022 Remarkable Woman.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Christine Getman understands the mission of Magic Wheelchair : “self expression and validating young voices.”
She is a confident example for others by openly embracing the term “disability pride.”
“With my disability pride, I say ‘disabled,’ like, I’m capital D ‘disabled,” Getman told KOIN 6 News “There’s nothing wrong with it because it’s my identity. It’s not something I bring along with me. It’s who I am.”
When she was 14 months old, she was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type 2. She got her first wheelchair when she was 2.5 years old.
In 2020 she helped shape an Oregon law that now requires hospitals to allow patients with disabilities to have their support person with them. Each day she works to fight for the rights of people with disabilities through what she said is her dream job at the Oregon Health Authority.
Because of her, Magic Wheelchair — ” a non-profit organization that builds epic costumes for kids in wheelchairs at no cost to the families” — is for the first time now helping children internationally.
On their YouTube page for their podcast, Jonny Harrison said he and Kirby Downey were excited to be part of the first Magic Wheelchair build in the United Kingdom for a boy named George who, like Christine Getman, has SMA Type 2.
George wanted a Lego Magic Wheelchair. They documented the process to show how they built the dragon in two months.
“We got hold of all of the solid works champions that we know in the UK and said, ‘Do you want to get involved in this project?’ So they collaborated with us and helped us design it, come up with the idea, figure out how certain mechanical aspects and electronic aspects will go together,” Downey said in an interview with KOIN 6 News. “Then we brought it back down to London where we did the reveal to George at his local park where he was just running around on his little wheelchair, with this big dragon costume around it up and down a cricket pitch, having a great time.”
Harrison and Downey weren’t too surprised that Christine Getman was chosen as this area’s Remarkable Woman of 2022. They already think she’s pretty deserving.
“We’ve always asked her, ‘When are we gonna build a Magic Wheelchair for you?’ And she said the day that there’s no more kids on her list she’ll get a Magic Wheelchair. She works really, really hard and is very passionate about this project,” Downey said. “I mean, who doesn’t want to build and awesome wheelchair for a kid?”
When Christine Getman learned she was chosen this year’s Remarkable Woman, she was very surprised and pleased.
“Thank you so much,” she said. “That’s amazing.”
Christine Getman will receive $1000 for the charity of her choice — which, not surprisingly, is Magic Wheelchair.
Magic Wheelchair is building a space at this time in downtown Gresham.
Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.
Throughout Women’s History Month, KOIN highlighted four local women who inspire, lead and forge the way for other women. It’s not just about one day or one month — it’s about what they do, day-in and day-out.
Christine Getman was named Oregon’s Woman of the Year and won a $1000 donation to her charity of choice From the more than 100 local winners nationwide, one woman will be selected and named Nexstar Media Group’s Woman of the Year.