by Mark Silverman
About the author:
Mark Silverman is the father of a 17 year old son with Duchenne. He has been on the Board of Action Duchenne in London since 2008. Mark is also the mastermind behind the Duchenne fundraiser music album Markin’ Time.
Lego Minifigures in Wheelchairs
My son Thomas is 17 and I started Wheels4lego in 2015 because he is a massive Lego fan. At the time there were no minifigures in wheelchairs – despite dozens of new sets coming out each year.
I think it’s important for both those kids in wheelchairs and just as importantly those who aren’t, to see wheelchairs as an everyday part of life and play.
There were/are a number of groups like mine that were raising the profile of this lack of representation. We were collectively delighted in 2016 when Lego introduced the first proper minifigure wheelchair user in an everyday city environment- until then only wheelchairs featured occasionally in hospital sets.
Now so many new sets are coming out with disabled minifigures – schools, soccer stadia, fairgrounds, buses and next month a high speed train set (see our latest post). It would be great to see a Powerchair appear in a set soon but I have to commend Lego (and other toy manufacturers) who have really upped their game in recent years.
I’m based in London, UK but we’ve got over 1100 followers from around the world. We’ve also just started on Instagram (@wheels4lego).
As for me, I’ve been involved with Action Duchenne in a variety of board roles since soon after Thomas was diagnosed. I am a trustee of the charity and have been on its board since 2008.
Markin’ Time Fundraiser
I also still fundraise when I find the time (and energy) during the lockdown period which was so tough for the Duchenne community. I recorded a fundraiser album at home featuring new recordings of classic songs by David Bowie, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and many more.