Wheelchair Motocross World champion inspires kids with new toy

American Hero

Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, five-time Wheelchair Motocross World Champion, said he’s happy that his story has helped inspire others.

(NewsNation) — Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham is a five-time Wheelchair Motocross World Champion who recently wowed viewers on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent: Extreme.” But he was still surprised when he learned he was the inspiration behind Hot Wheels’ first-ever remote-controlled wheelchair toy.

Fotheringham, who was born with the spinal condition spina bifida, said he was contacted by the company, which wanted to meet the athlete. Once he got there, Fotheringham was given a tour of the headquarters — “which is like Santa’s workshop” — and shown a prototype of the remote-controlled wheelchair, which can spin, perform tricks and jump, just like Fotheringham does.

Fotheringham said it blew his mind that Hot Wheels would want to collaborate on the toy.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America.” “It’s definitely been a huge compliment and an honor to be where I am, to be able to help influence kids.”

Fotheringham’s nickname “Wheelz” originated in middle school. At first, he thinks, it was meant to be derogatory. But then, Fotheringham embraced the name, and “Wheelz” stuck around.

For Fotheringham, the wheelchair “has been a huge asset.”

“It’s helped me accomplish a lot of my goals,” he said.

According to the Deseret News, Fotheringham is from Las Vegas and used crutches as a child, but found that the wheelchair gave him more freedom. He would watch other kids at a skate park, the newspaper reported, until he worked up the courage to drop in with his wheelchair. Now, he performs stunts all over the world.

“It doesn’t matter what your situation is,” Fotheringham said. “Don’t be afraid to dream big.”

Currently, Fotheringham is a tour with Nitro Circus and fellow “America’s Got Talent” competitors Ryan “R Willy” Williams and the Contraption Kings.

“It’s basically a family by now, that just loves to go big push the limits of (Bicycle Motocross), skateboard, dirt bikes,” he said.

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