Helix the tortoise on wheels inspires children's books, new foundation

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- When we first met Helix in August 2019, the tortoise with the twisted legs, unable to walk on his own, was rolling along freely on mini skateboard wheels.

A year and a half later, the little guy is the subject of children's books and is inspiring kids like Cooper Gaspero, a 7-year-old who has cerebral palsy.

"It's teaching kids that life isn't always what it seems to be and there's other things out there that can be looked at in a different way," said Randy Betz, who gave Helix his wheels and co-authored the books.

Lindsey Gaspero, Cooper's mom, said the books felt real to her.

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Wilmington man uses tiny skateboard to help tortoise with deformity: Beccah Hendrickson reports during Action News at 12:30pm on August 15, 2019.

"Right now, Cooper's at the age where we can still pick him up, but that day is coming where we're not going to be able to and it's getting harder and harder as he's growing," said Lindsey Gaspero.

When Betz met Cooper he saw the perfect opportunity to help the family out with his newly found Helix Wheels Foundation. But he did a lot more than that, he changed their lives by fundraising to build the family a ramp into their back door, so Cooper can wheel right into his home.

"I was like this is the best Christmas present anyone could ever ask for," said Gaspero.

Helix, the inspiration for the foundation, died last year. His little turtle wheels could only take him so far, but his legacy rolls on.

"When you start something, you don't really know the impact or what could possibly come from it, and to see it come to life, inspired by a little tortoise, it was so heartwarming," Betz said.
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