This motivated Southern mom is proving that taking ownership of your hopes and dreams can lead to something truly life-changing. Drew Ann Long invented Caroline’s Cart in honor of her special needs daughter who was diagnosed with Rett syndrome as a child. This rare genetic disorder prevents Caroline from walking on her own, and it affects language and coordination. As a stay-at-home-mom of three, Drew Ann found herself at the grocery store several times a week. Once Caroline outgrew the seat in a traditional shopping cart, a trip to the supermarket began to feel difficult and burdensome. Drew Ann found it impossible to maneuver a shopping cart and Caroline’s wheelchair, while simultaneously taking care of her other children and shopping. She knew there had to be a better way.
Drew Ann was determined to create something worthy of her daughter’s name – and it started with a napkin sketch. Caroline’s Cart was made for older children and adults with special needs, and it provides caregivers with a practical option to transport their loved one around a grocery store and shop at the same time. The invention started with a simple drawing at Drew Ann’s dining room table, and, since then, it has helped families across America. But the process wasn’t easy.
After the initial napkin drawing, it took two years to fully develop the prototype, and almost ten years before Caroline’s Cart made it into stores. But, Drew Ann knows it was worth it. Because of this incredible invention, folks with special needs are now able to take part in an everyday activity, and what could be more important than product that promotes inclusion for everyone? Caroline may never take a step or speak a word, but she inspired her mother to create something that will ultimately better the lives of countless deserving people.