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Wheelchair-bound teenager going hunting

A disabled Arkansas teenager is setting his sights on bagging an elk in Saskatchewan.

Joe Parsons will be aiming for an elk from his wheelchair because the 16-year-old has a severe form of Muscular Dystrophy.

"I just thought it'd be really incredible to go hunting in Canada and shoot a big bull elk," he said from his home in Searcy, Ark., on Wednesday.

Joe's dream trip became a reality after his mother applied to Hunt of a Lifetime, a non-profit organization that grants hunting and fishing wishes for children under the age of 21 who have life-threatening illnesses.

"Joe has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and also has cardiac and respiratory failure that he takes medications for," his mother, Christy, said. "It's a disease that there's no cure for and it affects all of the muscles in the entire body. He's been in a wheelchair since he was 10."

Joe's three-day hunt, which begins today, will be at a game preserve, increasing his odds of bagging a big one.

Joe's wheelchair is outfitted with a battery-operated rifle mount that moves side to side or up and down so he can get a bead on his game.

Since Joe's arms have limited mobility, a straw-like tube attaches to the trigger mechanism, so when he's ready to fire, all he does is sip on the straw to pull the trigger.

"I just enjoy hunting with my dad and having a good time," Joe said.

Sources: Regina Leader-Post,

My two cents: This is the first time I've ever seen assistive technology designed to kill something. It's terrific. Assistive technology should be designed with the end user in mind. I've never had the desire to hunt, but I'm glad Joe is getting the opportunity.

Assistive technology usually is focused around the home environment, and occasionally around a work environment. We see far too little assistive tech developed for recreational purposes.

Here's a small list of assistive technology I'd like to see developed to enhance my life.
  • The robot backrub... a life-size robot woman with extra soft hands!
  • The robot kitty litter scooper... I would be a hero in my house if I could scoop the poop.
  • The printer paper fetcher... my assistant wouldn't have to jump every time I hit print. Better yet, it could fetch the paper, then wad it up into a ball and throw it in the trash. It would save a step.
  • The kid spanker... I can't beat my children, but I could let a robot do it.
  • The kid anti-drowning device... it would be a large net in the bottom of my pool. If I hear a large splash, I wouldn't have to panic, call for help, or dial 911. I'll just push a button and a giant net will scoop my kid of the pool. I'd purchase a second button that would blow him dry and send him to his room.
  • The wife mute button... enough said.
If you can invent any of these things... let me know, I'll make you a millionaire.


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