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Hadley Wheelchair Challenge Expands All Access to Akins High School

Archer Hadley, an Austin ISD student who helped increase accessibility for people with disabilities at Austin High School, has teamed up with Akins High School to bring the wheelchair challenge to the Eagles.

Hadley raised $87,000 in his first challenge at Austin High, resulting in five automatic doors and rain-resistant canopies for his own campus. Hadley developed the idea after he was stuck outside the high school in the rain. Each automatic door costs $6,000.

Akins High School's goal is to provide five automatic doors as well. The challenge, which began Nov. 2, runs for three weeks.

Participants may challenge any student, parent or faculty member to experience life in a wheelchair for one day for $10. Students who wish to opt out of the challenge are encouraged to "buy out" the challenge with their own donation. Hadley is providing 20 manual wheelchairs to Akins Library for participants' use. Crockett and Anderson high schools have also taken part in the challenge.

“I think access means freedom, empowerment, and independence which in turn strengthens maturity. Access means I can go wherever I want and others can go where they want without humiliatingly depending on someone else,” Hadley said. “But, most of all, the awareness The Challenge brings to communities shows students that others care enough to rally around them toward a positive cause that uplifts all youth whether typically able or differently able. We all win when doors are open to us.”

Hadley is being honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Austin Chapter with the Kelly Davidson Memorial Outstanding Philanthropic Youth award.

To donate to The Eagles Wheelchair Challenge or to learn more about the challenge, please visit https://co.clickandpledge.com/default.aspx?wid=113640.