Mission Statement

“Making Disability Disappear” by working with people with disabilities to help them find their unique place in the world, and to change the world’s view of disabled people by sharing their inspirational stories.


Wheelchair, ability, disability, Asheville, magic, dancing, talents, story telling,


The Vanishing Wheelchair is a non-profit that breaks down barriers between people who do and don’t have disabilities. For example, we teach people with disabilities how to do magic tricks and then give them opportunities to perform. When they do, those watching don’t see someone disabled – with a wheelchair, hearing aid, or other assistive technology – but instead perceive a talented and accomplished individual. The wheelchairs, hearing aids and all the rest have vanished.

The Vanishing Wheelchair, Inc. was founded by Thomas J. Shimeld and Ricky D. Boone and incoporated in the state of North Carolina on November 24, 2010 as a charitable non-profit corporation.

Inspired by the mystifying misdirection of Ricky D. Boone who uses magic and comedy to make his disability a great ability, The Vanishing Wheelchair, Inc. was founded to teach the art of misdirection to encourage the world to focus on another’s ability rather than one’s disability; to guide youth in the discovery of their own talents; and to give youth a path to reach their full potential.  Its purpose is also to provide entertainment, education, and inspiration to children of all ages in the hope that each will attain his or her God-given potential.  And to print and publish inspirational books and literature.

T.J. Shimeld and Ricky D. Boone founded the organization to help people with special needs and to promote the arts. Ricky’s life has purpose: he loves to make people laugh. T.J. and Ricky would love to give others a chance to find what they love.

T.J. and Ricky’s dream is to have a place where they can let special needs people come and be a part of a business, be a part of a magic show. Perhaps they could sing, dance, tell jokes, paint, take photographs, or sell tickets – whatever they could do and wish to do.

Board of Directors


The Vanishing Wheelchair, Inc. offers a number of workshops which are universally accessible, yet geared toward helping people with disabilities find a life-long passion through learning about the arts and learning skills that have real world application as a hobby or potential career path. With the All Things Possible Workshops, The Vanishing Wheelchair hopes to give a sampling of possibilities that an individual can try. Once several people develop an interest in a particular art form, The Vanishing Wheelchair can offer specialized clubs in that field for more in-depth study. The Magic, Mirth & Meaning shows, which happen twice a month, act as a showcase for people to further practice and hone their talents in front of a live audience. Click the date/workshop for more information or contact us via email.

MAGIC WORKSHOPS Tuesdays 2-3pm Magicians Ricky D. Boone, T.J. Shimeld, and Gil Carlson offer their decades’ expertise in the magical arts. Demonstrating beginner magic tricks, participants get hands-on instruction and performance tips covering the seven principles of magic: apparition, dis-apparition, transformations, restoration, penetration, extra-sensory perception, and levitation.

SEATED EXERCISE Wednesdays 2-3 pm Nurse Dottie Ray offers upbeat, rhythmic movements to get the body stretching and moving in a fun interactive class with modern music to keep the energy up. Dottie has used these exercises throughout Buncombe County in numerous hospitals and nursing homes.

MEANINGFUL MOVEMENTS Thursdays 2-3pm T.J. Shimeld offers his expertise learned from an internship at Harvard University’s Health Services and the Mind-Body Medical Institute while earning his Bachelor of Arts in Clinical Psychology and a Certificate in Community Health from Tufts University. In a class designed to stretch and relax the body in a meaningful way, participants learn how to induce what Dr. Herbert Benson calls the “relaxation response.”

DANCING WHEELCHAIRS: Fridays 6:00 p.m. Using his eight years experience in stage movement with a magic theatre troupe in Beverly, Massachusetts, T.J. Shimeld heads a rotation of movement instructors that help people who use a wheelchair discover their own bodies’ capacity for beautiful movement.

*NOTE* Most workshops are just $5 per person for each class, or $15 for the month. If price is a burden, contact The Vanishing Wheelchair. For further information for group costs in our facility or yours contact T.J. Shimeld at tjshimeld@gmail.com

Seated Tai Chi: Vixi Jil Glenn offers the unique strength, breathing, and flow of energy throughout the body that traditional Tai Chi offers, but from a seated position. Integrating her penchant for story telling and repetition of movements, participants will quickly learn and retain the knowledge Vixi imparts.

Photography: Lead by Ricky D. Boone with the aid of other photographers, Ricky imparts his knowledge and eye for capturing life’s magical moments on film. Participants will begin with disposable cameras and advance to black and white photography and dark room film development.

Wood Working: Participants will learn basic wood-working techniques while measuring, cutting, sanding, and staining their own 3D optical-illusion puzzle.

Story Telling: At age sixteen, Vixi Jil Glenn writing rhyming faerie tales, and by age seventeen was telling them professionally. Vixi offers numerous workshops from Traditional Appalachian Jack Tales, to Cherokee Myths, to Biblical Tales. See www.vixijil.com for details.

Appalachian Faerie Folk School: Storyteller Vixi Jil weaves together original and ancient faerie tales, enchanted walkabouts and personal accounts to help guide folks into explorations of discovery in the etheric realms and the magical world of faeries, elves, devas, brownies, gnomes, mermaids and all sorts of wonderful enchantments.

Misfit Toys Construction: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had deep meaning to magician Ricky D. Boone, story teller Vixi Jil Glenn, and singer Kelti Buchholz growing up with and around disabilities. They discovered that everyone has a place in the world. Participants will learn skills in sewing, crafting, sculpting, and painting as they breath new life into old toys by reassembling them in new ways.


Tricky D. Bunn
T.J. Shimeld, Illustrated by Jennifer A. Shimeld
32 pages, illustrations  $7.95 softcover (9 x 6)     ISBN 978-0-615-63505-9-7     (2012)
Tricky D. Bunn is a touching story of the friendship, magic, and love between a child and a rabbit with a disability. Children will see each other and themselves through loving eyes, and learn not to judge a book by its cover.
Magician-performer T.J. Shimeld lives in Morganton, North Carolina

The Four-foot GIANT and the Vanishing Wheelchair
T.J. Shimeld
Forewords by Ricky D. Boone and Loretta Faircloth
251 pages, photos $15.95 softcover (5.5 x 8.5) ISBN 978-0-692-01252-9 (2010)

“If you like good stories; if you are somebody that loves going to the movies; if you are someone that loves those Forest Gump-type movies; if you are somebody that just appreciates a good story from beginning to middle and not yet to the end, then you will appreciate this book only because of Ricky Boone. He is a regional motion picture himself. You can’t have a better subject than Ricky Boone.” -Leighton Grant, Nine-time Emmy winning News Photographer, WLOS ABC 13
From day one, Ricky Boone’s doctors predicted his death from a rare bone disorder, Morgani’s Syndrome. If he survived birth, he would never make it beyond four years old. He is now over fifty. Through the years he has escaped a rare pneumonia which kills people with two healthy lungs, brain surgery with a fifty-percent survival rate and lived through a heart attack from a rare virus. When left to die in the hospital a voice spoke to him, “If you are too tired, I will bring you home. If you are willing to fight, I promise you, it is not over.” Hours later he was still alive, though doctors said he would never leave his bed. A week later he was up, yet the doctors knew he could never perform. That was over ten years ago and he has performed more shows since than ever before, appearing on all three major television networks and winning numerous awards and accolades from the magic community. A documentary news broadcast of his life won two Emmy awards for best feature and best story in the Southeast region. “If it weren’t for magic, I wouldn’t exist,” Ricky smiles.

Written in historical narrative from personal interviews with Ricky and those he has inspired, his story shows how anything is possible if one is willing to strive. Everyone has the power to be a giant just as Ricky has become “The Four-foot Giant.”

T.J. Shimeld lives in Morganton, North Carolina and is founder of The Vanishing Wheelchair, Inc., a non-profit organization.

The exclusive magic tricks below are from Magic Central of Asheville, North Carolina. The magic shop will donate $10.00 of every item sold here to The Vanishing Wheelchair, Inc.

EASY AS 1, 2, 3!

Effect: You show a stick with nothing on both sides. You push the stick through your hand and show that one stone has appeared on both sides. Then rotate the stick and magically another stone appears on the other end, on both sides. Run the stick through your hand once more and show that another stone has appeared in the middle on both sides.


Effect: The magician addresses a spectator that her chosen card was revealed to him in a dream.

He proceeds to record his premonition on a piece of paper and sets it aside. A deck of cards is freely shown and handed to the spectator. She deals the cards into two piles. The magician asks the spectator to choose a pile and it is put aside.

The spectator continues this action, freely eliminating one pile until only one card is left – the card seen in the dream!


Another way to give: AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. https://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-4121938


The Vanishing Wheelchair, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit Public Charity, EIN 27-4121938 (legal name: Vanishing Wheelchair) located in Asheville, NC 28804. It values transparency and its exempt status filings are available to view at IRS.gov.


IRS 990-N ePostcard Filings

Most small organizations that receive less than $50,000 fall into this category.