Man Plans to Become 'Human Backpack' on Euro-Trip

Kevan Chandler will travel despite muscular dystrophy
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2016 3:37 PM CDT
Man Will Be 'Human Backpack' on Euro-Trip
Kevan Chandler.   (YouTube)

Kevan Chandler's muscular dystrophy keeps him confined to a wheelchair, but he still plans to go backpacking in Europe with four friends this summer. The catch: Chandler himself will be a backpack. "These guys want to make this happen," says Chandler of his buddies, per CBS News. "They want to serve me in this way." They've even posted a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the trip and created a blog called We Carry Kevan where they plan to recount the three-week visit to Ireland, England, and France. The friends—Apple employee Luke Thompson, teachers Tom Troyer and Philip Keller, and church leader Ben Duvall—"backpacked" Chandler three years ago on a sewer-exploration trip, so they know it's challenging, the Greensboro News & Record reports.

"Kevan is 65 or 70 pounds," says Keller. "Carrying him didn’t sound too bad to us until it was 10 to 15 minutes in." Now the friends are increasing their stamina with weightlifting and strength classes to prepare for the June-July getaway, where they plan to shoot a documentary about it. As for Kevan—who often writes tales of sacrifice and love at a coffee shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana—he looks forward to seeing the lands that inspired two of his favorite writers, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. He also hopes to inspire others with disabilities and show the importance of self-sacrifice. "We are all broken in some way or another, and so we all need our burdens to be held up and carried by each other, and the only way that's going to happen is if we help each other out, and that requires sacrifice of self," he says. (Read more backpacking stories.)

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