Raising a special-needs child can be rewarding and life-changing but is littered with innumerable challenges and obstacles. This is what led one special-needs mom to help parents and caretakers in one very important aspect of their weekly routine: grocery shopping.
It all began with a sketch on a napkin at Drew Ann Long’s dining table in Alabama.
The stay-at-home mom of three had just spent a tedious amount of time at the grocery store maneuvering a traditional shopping cart with her 2-year-old son as well as a wheelchair carrying her special-needs daughter, Caroline. You can imagine how difficult this must have been.
Happy birthday to my beautiful Caroline!!!!! We love you soooo much!!!! #17
Caroline was diagnosed with Rett syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, at a very young age. The disease affects her language and coordination as well as prevents her from walking on her own.
When Caroline outgrew the child seat provided in a typical shopping cart, grocery shopping became an almost impossible burden that Drew Ann found herself tackling multiple times per week. She remembers thinking that there had to be a better way even though her research hadn’t found one at the time.
So, she sat down at her dining room table and created one herself.
This began a long, uncertain journey for Drew Ann, but she was determined to make her inspiration a reality. She had come up with an invention for a new shopping cart that could hold her growing special-needs daughter at the same time as their groceries.
Designed to provide comfort, safety, and stability to its occupant, the contoured seat in Caroline’s Cart was comfortable for low-muscle-tone individuals and, with the use of the attached safety harness, could secure any occupant weighing 35 pounds to 250 pounds (approx. 16 to 113 kg).
The handles of the cart swing upward, while the locking brakes on each wheel provide stability to make loading and unloading as easy and safe as possible. There was plenty of space in the cart for items, and even when laden down, it would be easy to manipulate and turn.
Caroline’s Cart is now in Italy! #roadtrip 🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹
It truly would be a life changer for thousands of people.
As Drew Ann had never created a product before, she had to do a lot of research on how to go about it. It was easier said than done. It took her nearly two years to develop the prototype and longer than that to found Parent Solution Group LLC and secure a patent for the design.
Her goal was to see Caroline’s Cart in every retailer at every location. She enlisted the help of legal and business professionals in order to achieve this, which led her to join forces with Technibilt.
I just have to share how amazing God is! I woke up today feeling the need to go to Whole Foods. I haven't been to…
Technibilt is North America’s largest shopping cart manufacturer, and they loved Drew Ann’s prototype and values. They made Drew Ann’s dream a reality, and now Caroline’s Cart is available in retailers across the United States.
Parents and caregivers in every state love Caroline’s Cart, and many can no longer imagine their lives without it.
Drew Ann Long’s book, “Game Changer,” details the journey of Caroline’s Cart and is available for purchase on Amazon.
“This incredibly inspiring story of a dynamic woman who aimed to impact the entire world is a must read!”
— Caroline’s Cart (@carolinescart) August 28, 2017