Six-year-old girl surprised with custom wheelchair cover in Gainesville

McKenna's father served in the Navy and passed away before his daughter could get her surprise.
Published: Aug. 19, 2023 at 2:56 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A young girl in Gainesville received a once-in-a-lifetime surprise with the help of her late father.

McKenna Recker was surprised with a new wheelchair cover during Walmart Caregiver Days, hosted by CareSource. The nonprofit teamed up with Walkin’ & Rollin’ Costumes to build the cover.

“We’re building our presense here in Florida and heard the story of McKenna and wanted to partner with local organizations to provide her this wheelchair,” said Adam Beam, Regional Vice President of CareSource.

Walkin’ & Rollin’ Founder Lon Davis said he was originally contacted by McKenna’s father.

“When I reached out to him to tell him that we’ve chosen his daughter to build the costume, I received an email back that said ‘this is his widow,’” said Davis.

Her father served in the Navy and passed away before his daughter could get her surprise. The organization reached out to McKenna’s mom instead.

“I didn’t even know he had reached out to the organization to have the costume made, so it just really made me feel like he was giving us messages from heaven that he was still with us,” said Melissa Recker.

McKenna has Down Syndrome, Tracheoesophageal Fistula, and Esophageal Atresia. Her mother is her primary caregiver, while raising four other children.

Recker said her daughter was excited to see her surprise, decked out in her favorite colors and character, Minnie Mouse. There are also pictures of her father.

“I just know she’s going to love sharing this costume with everybody and hoping that it brings smiles to other people as well,” said Recker.

Davis said it took a team of volunteers around 150 hours to create the costume.

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