Seven-year-old Ryson Furness of Brookfield gets new, high-tech wheelchair from Make-A-Wish

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BROOKFIELD -- A Brookfield seven-year-old is, for the first time, able to move around without help. He suffers from a life-threatening neurological disorder -- and on Thursday, May 26th his wish was granted, and it is already changing his life.

Ryson Furness

Ryson Furness

Ryson Furness has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and cortical visual impairment.

His classmates at Brookfield's Burleigh Elementary had a surprise for him on Thursday. The gym was decorated with artwork and his friends prepared a sweet song as the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted his wish.

Furness' school raised $1,000 and Make-A-Wish donated the rest to get Furness a sensor-powered wheelchair.

"His eyes light up. He can't wait to get in it," said Natalie Furness, Ryson's mom.

It all works with the head rest. The chair even has a drum set.

"He has been using switches with his head, so I knew this was the wish that he wanted," said Natalie Furness.

Make-A-Wish wheelchair

"It was a matter of figuring out just the right chair with all the necessary things to allow Ryson to be free," said Forres Doolen with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The chair means Ryson will be able to have brand new, independent experiences.

"He'll be able to integrate it to be outside and be active on the playground with his friends," said Pat Barina, physical therapist for the Elmbrook School District.

"I am always having to hold him, pick him up, do everything for him," said Natalie Furness.

Make-A-Wish wheelchair

Not anymore. Now he can keep up with his younger brother.

"I told Ryson they were going to race together," said Natalie Furness.

This is a record-setting year for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. It is granting at least one wish a day.