7-year old Hayden Trigg of Austin, Texas was born with spina bifida and cerebral palsy and has relied on a wheelchair for his whole life. The conditions affect Hayden’s muscle tone and mobility, making it difficult for him to play with his siblings and classmates.

However, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Austin Tree Houses, that is beginning to change.

For the past year, Hayden has watched as construction workers built a tree house in his family’s backyard. The tree house is wheelchair-accessible and was built to include wide spaces and a ramp connecting two oak trees. Construction on the tree house finished earlier this month and Hayden had a ribbon cutting ceremony with his family and first-grade class.

“It was the best day of his life,” said Adrienne Trigg, Hayden’s mother. “His wish was to share it with his friends. He’s got to be the most popular kid in school right now.”

Hayden and his classmates spent the day playing in the tree house, which is already breaking down barriers for Hayden, according Trigg. 

“He has very low muscle tone, so it’s hard for him to go long distances in his manual chair,” Trigg said. “For the very first time, he took the manual chair up and down the ramp because he was so excited.”

Hayden has already held a slumber party in the tree house and plans to spend the summer exploring the tree house with his friends.

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.