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Dad Builds Impressive 2-Story Igloo And Makes It Wheelchair-Accessible For 2 Of His Kids

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

It’s been an ice-cold winter this season but one hard-working dad is making the most of it for his two children who use wheelchairs.

Ohio dad Gregg Eichhorn has eight children, including two who use wheelchairs: 19-year-old Zahara and 9-year-old Elijah. Recently, the family was playing outside in the snow. They decided to make an igloo — but not just any old igloo. This one had to meet some requirements.

“The kids and I were discussing, while we were throwing snow around, that we should make something handicap-accessible so Zahara and Elijah could use it,” Gregg explained to Good Morning America.

Gregg and his sister Sarah spent five hours building a wheelchair-accessible igloo that Zahara and Elijah could both easily enter. The igloo even features a second-floor snowball deck.

Photos of Gregg’s creation went viral on Reddit, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is this the sweetest dad move, but it’s also a seriously impressive snow fort.

Gregg Eichhorn has eight adopted children, all of whom have special needs.

Recently, the whole family was outside enjoying the recent snowfall in their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

They had the brilliant idea to build an igloo that all of the kids could use.

They decided to build something “handicap accessible” so that Gregg’s two kids who use wheelchairs, Zahara and Elijah, could wheel into it.

Gregg and his sister Sarah spent five hours working on the igloo, which features a wheelchair-accessible entrance and a second-floor snowball deck.

“The kids jumped in and helped for a couple of minutes here and there as we built it,” Gregg said.

Zahara, who has cerebral palsy, adored the igloo.

“Zahara lights up with any attention, so she was excited to go outside and have people out there with her,” Gregg said.

And Elijah loved it, too.

Gregg explained, “When he went in the fort, his eyes opened instantly and you could see he was processing what was going on as he was surrounded by white. It was very special to see him process that.”

Elijah has “cortical visual impairment, which interferes with communication with his brain and eyes.”

Gregg’s friend posted photos of his creation to Reddit, where it got a lot of attention.

Since then, the dad has been featured on news outlets around the world. He says the five hours of hard igloo-building work were completely worth it.

“We want to show how much joy these kids have brought to our lives,” Gregg said.

The family continued to enjoy the igloo after that first weekend, too.

“Zahara and Elijah have both been back in it since Sunday,” Gregg confirmed on January 16.

They even added a slide to the structure!

 

People on social media adore this dad, this family, and this igloo. Some other parents of kids with special needs were especially inspired by Gregg’s efforts.

 

Some people were simply amazed by the igloo itself, which is several steps beyond most people’s igloo-building capabilities.

I mean, two stories?!

A few people had questions about how, exactly, a two-story igloo is even possible. Dan and Gregg both explained that it’s compact and sturdy enough not to collapse.

The igloo isn’t Gregg’s first ambitious effort. As a stay-at-home dad to eight children, going above and beyond for his kids is just second nature.

Elijah was Gregg’s first adopted child with his wife, Katie, a nurse. The experience of raising Elijah convinced the couple not to have any of their own children.

“You have to be intentional about being a father,” Gregg told Cincinnati’s Enquirer in 2015. “Having kids is a blessing, a joy.”