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Make-A-Wish Foundation and Tempe company give local boy new wheels

The Make-A-Wish Foundation teamed up with Terrain Hopper USA to give a boy battling muscular dystrophy a new wheelchair.

PHOENIX — The Make-A-Wish Foundation teamed up with Terrain Hopper USA, a Tempe-based company, to give a Boy Scout battling muscular dystrophy a customized all-terrain motorized wheelchair.

Bert Griffith is 12 years old and has a passion for the outdoors. Unfortunately, his traditional scooter was not quite up to the challenges of navigating the campgrounds and trails that he frequents. 

“I’m getting the Train Hopper, so I can go on hikes and go on a campout without getting stuck,” he said. 

Griffith thought that he was headed to a doctor’s appointment when, at his mom’s request, Make-A-Wish arranged a rare visit to the Terrain Hopper's Tempe warehouse. 

“We’re super excited about him being here, meeting him in person and getting him to see the different options, pick out what he wants. So, we can build exactly what he needs,” said President of Terrain Hopper USA Todd Lemay. 

Griffith's big request was for his new ride to be lime green. As for the machine’s mechanical capabilities and features, the company outfitted it with traditional steering wheels and joysticks, tires ready to tackle Arizona’s toughest trails, blinkers and headlights. 

“I tried to use my own scooter, and I kept getting high centered,” Griffith said.  

Griffith's mom could not be more grateful. 

“My son is going to be able to have a blast and feel as close to normal as he possibly can,” Amber Smith said. 

Griffith said that his first stop might be Arizona's Windy Point campground. 

Terrain Hopper works with Make-A-Wish Foundation regularly. In fact, Smith said that she got the idea to reach out after she saw someone traversing Alaska’s shores in a Terrain Hopper. 

Within weeks of reaching out, Make-A-Wish put the project in motion. 

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