Lexus made a toy version of its LX SUV to promote the cause of children with cerebral palsy. The Japanese brand worked with the Cerebral Palsy Foundation in the United States to design a convertible ride-on version of its LX SUV.
In the United States, March is commemorated as National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, and the one-of-a-kind ride-on vehicle comes with adaptation to make it comfortable for use by children with cerebral palsy.
Commenting on the vehicle, Rachel Byrne, CPF executive director said that people with cerebral palsy rarely get the interventions and support they need when they need them. She said her organization’s mission was to shift that paradigm and to serve as a catalyst for creating positive change through innovative collaborations and partnerships.
Lexu’s creation of its ride-on LX arose from its human-centric philosophy. Children who suffer from cerebral palsy find it a challenge to play with other children and to interact with the environment around. Lexus wanted to make it possible for such children to experience mobility like others.
Cooper Ericksen, Lexus group vice president, product planning & strategy said that the brand creates vehicles around the art and science of human needs. In the case of this partnership, the idea was to push the envelope and explore what mobility should be like for a child with cerebral palsy who hasn’t been able to experience the joy of mobility.
The first such child to receive the ride-on Lexus LX was Finley Smallwood. Finley suffers from cerebral palsy and faces difficulties sitting at a stretch for a long period. Hence, Finley’s ride on LX was modified with added padding on the side for lateral support and came with an adjustable headrest. The ground clearance was reduced and the size of the doors was increased. Children with cerebral palsy lack the balance and strength needed to hold and turn a steering wheel consistently for a long period of time, and they might find it difficult to use a foot pedal. Hence, other additional features included an armrest joystick to give Finley the ability to control the direction and acceleration of the vehicle as well as a five-point harness for additional safety. As a finishing touch, Finle Smallwood’s TX sported purple paint – her favorite color. Now, thanks to Lexus, Finley finally gets to experience the world of mobility and freedom.
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