Article from stuff.co.nz
Good Samaritans have teamed up to deck out a wheelchair for a Cambridge resident who lives by the mantra “If you can’t stand up, stand out”.
With the HSBC NZ Sevens to take place in Hamilton this weekend, Maioro Barton, whose name often gets mistaken for Mario, uses a wheelchair and wanted to integrate it into his Sevens costume.
So thanks to kind help from locals, he will now be attending the Sevens dressed as Super Mario, resplendent with moustache, and with his wheelchair made into a Mario Kart.
“Last year I went to the Sevens but I only decided on the day, and I just wore a funny t-shirt and that was it,” Barton said.
He had so much fun that he wanted to go in a full-fledged costume.
So he reached out on the Cambridge Grapevine community page on Facebook, posted a photo of him wearing a Super Mario costume, and asked if anybody could help him make his wheelchair look like a car.
Nikki Mayor from Sign Boss Cambridge quickly messaged Barton and offered to help with the wheelchair’s Mario livery, whilst local handyman Dave Lind offered to create bodywork for the wheelchair out of wood.
“I looked at his profile, I liked his attitude and everything, so I sent him a message and said, ‘Yeah, I’ll help you out,'” Lind said.
The results were outstanding. In a day, Barton’s wheelchair had been decked out to make a convincing Mario Kart.
It’s the first time in his life that his wheelchair has been given a makeover.
“I was born with spina bifida,” Barton said.
But he has lived as normal a life as possible.
“I come from a big family and my parents just treated me like my siblings, so I pretty much wasn’t allowed to sit on my arse all day.”
While Barton experienced some bullying at school, once he became a wheelchair basketball player representing the Waikato, he had an identity, people respected him, and the bullying ceased.
Barton’s attendance at the Sevens, dressing up in a costume like so many people do there, is a continuation of his philosophy of doing everything in life that everyone else does.
And he goes by the mantra, “If you can’t stand up, stand out”.
He will undoubtedly keep to that mantra with his Mario get-up, which is bound to turn heads.
Barton plans to wheel around with the Super Mario theme music playing from his phone, and he even has an authentic Mario moustache.
“I didn’t want one of those stick on ones, because that just would have been annoying,” he said.