CLAREMORE, Okla. — 14-year-old Cameron Allison and his grandparents Shirley and Curt Burrill are finding it easier than ever to complete their weekly chores, with a little help from Walmart.
Several weeks ago Shirley contacted Walmart’s corporate office in Bentonville, Arkansas, to request a Caroline’s Cart at Claremore’s store.
Caroline’s Cart is designed like a regular shopping cart, except the small baby carrier at the front is replaced with a larger car seat style plastic chair. The design eliminates the need for caregivers to maneuver a wheel chair and a grocery cart at the same time.
The cart was waiting on them when they arrived to do their weekly shopping last week.
Curt and Shirley are Cameron’s primary caregivers.
“Shirley has had Cameron since he was four months old, when he came out of NICU,” Curt said. “He was premature. He has cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, and just a list of other diagnoses.”
Although nonverbal, Curt said that Cameron is a great, happy kid.
“I’ve known Shirley and Cameron about eight years,” Curt said.
“Wherever she goes, he goes, especially in the summertime when he is not in school,” Curt said. “Her whole life is Cameron. She doesn’t work, so she cares for Cameron 24/7, other than when I am home and I can give her a break.”
Because Cameron is now around the same size as his grandmother, Caroline’s Cart helps her support him around the store.
Cameron can walk short distances if someone is holding his hand, but long trips through the store can become a danger to his health and safety.
“You set him down, you buckle him in, and you’re good to go,” Curt said. “And he is facing you as you’re shopping so you can talk to him, make sure he is comfortable and that all of his needs are taken care of. It’s just a lot easier with Caroline’s Cart.”
“She goes out frequently because it is good for Cameron to get out in public,” Curt said. “We don’t leave him at home.”
Curt said other stores in town also have this cart.
“We don’t know if her call is what prompted them to get it or if it was just a coincidence of time,” Curt said. “Regardless, she asked, they answered and it was great.”
“We wanted to thank Walmart in Claremore for getting a Caroline’s Cart,” Shirley wrote in a Facebook community group last week. “it makes a huge difference when I need to shop with my very sweet grandson.”
“If you don’t live in the world of special needs, you’re just not aware in most cases of the struggles,” Curt said. “For someone to take the time to consider us in their daily activities, that is huge for us. That is a big deal.”
Thesenvitz writes for Claremore Progress, a CNHI News Service publication.