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.


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

TJ Shimeld
T.J. Shimeld earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and a certificate in Community Health from Tufts University. His graduate work in teaching and guidance counseling was done with Lesley University and Salem State University.
Since the age of eleven, Shimeld has worked as a professional magician performing at birthday parties. Through the years he has progressed to working theme parks, festivals, and charity and corporate events. Shimeld apprenticed eight years with “Marco the Magi’s Production of ‘Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company,’” the longest-running resident magic show, according to Guinness World Records. In North Carolina, Shimeld founded Fli-Rite Productions, a multi-media visual arts production company for the entertainment and education of its audiences. Through his company, Shimeld performs as Wendal Wandell, the Wordsmith of Wonder, presenting educational programs at schools and libraries.
Shimeld's articles on magic and its history have appeared in such magazines as M A G I C Magazine and The Linking Ring.  Shimeld has also published a biography, Walter B. Gibson and The Shadow (McFarland, 2003/2005), of a magician, writer, and the creator of The Shadow. His second biography of magician Ricky D. Boone, The Four-foot Giant and the Vanishing Wheelchair, led to the founding of The Vanishing Wheelchair, Inc. and the joining with Boone in presenting motivational speeches.
Between performances, Shimeld worked for ten years with the International Brotherhood of Magicians as the Ring Reports Editor for The Linking Ring, he also educates others on magic and juggling through his Wonder Workshops for which he has self-published three books: The Principles of MagicThe Magical Arts, and Juggling Gestures. Shimeld has worked for CVS Health for fifteen years, holding the position of lead technician since 2005, managing and educating a staff of twelve pharmacy technicians. Shimeld resides in Morganton, North Carolina with his son.
Gil Carson
Vice President

Gil Carlson has been performing magic for over 60 years. He grew up in up-state New York watching his Church Pastor father use the hobby of magic to illustrate Biblical events in an engaging way with entertainment magic. By the time he was a teenager, Gil found his place in the art-form of illusion with the adage of performing “Magic with a Message.”

Through high school, college, marriage to Linda, the rearing of three children, and following a career in electronics engineering, magic was always a part. During these years, his wife and each of the children took a turn at being produced from an empty cabinet, made to look like a church. He took the stage and platforms in churches, summer camps, retreats, schools, colleges, and streets, of the Eastern Seaboard from Nova Scotia to Miami, as well as a few European and Asian countries, as he was invited to share the surprise and delight of magic.

Today Mr. Carlson is retired with Linda in Asheville, NC. In his involvement with The Vanishing Wheelchair, he draws from his ten year life experience as an urban missionary with World Impact while living in the inner city of St Louis, to engage in bringing the commodity of opportunity to people that can benefit most, but are often overlooked. He is happy to be involved with the performing, teaching, and strategizing aspects of The Vanishing Wheelchair to find ways to help people have their hopes and desires realized in the performing arts and other endeavors of the organization.

Ricky D Boone
Co-Founder/PR Director
People who hear about Ricky D. Boone’s struggles with a rare bone disorder can’t help but be inspired. Through the years he has escaped a rare pneumonia, survived brain surgery, and lived through a heart attack from a rare virus. Yet Ricky has been a success in the corporate as well as magic worlds.
Ricky did not happen upon his success by magic, but through hard work, earning associates degrees in Applied Science in Accounting, Marketing/Management, and General Business in 1981. From 1986 until 1995, he worked with Cable Electric, Inc. as an officer manager responsible for payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and inventory.
Since 1973, Ricky has been performing magic, appearing on all four major television networks. A documentary news broadcast of his life won two Emmy awards and he has run and operated tandem magic businesses. He began Magic Times Two for his performances since 1980, and in 1995 opened his own magic shop, Magic Central. And since 2010, he has been a motivational speaker, inspiring the world with his story.
Vixi Jil

Vixi Jil Glenn has been telling stories professionally since she was seventeen. She began studying Katherine Briggs’s Encyclopedia of Faerie  as well as Faerie tales and legends by Hans Christian Anderson, which completely shaped the type of storyteller that she has become. Vixi shares traditional faerie, folk, and Jack tales, as well as rhyming faerie tales of her own with her audiences.

Vixi has honed her craft as a three year participant in Connie Regan Blake’s Academy of Performance Storytelling -Taking it to the Stage. She is a past vice president and current member of the Asheville Storytelling Circle, as well as a member of the NC Storytelling Guild and Jonesborough Storytellers Guild. Vixi is a certified E.L.F. school facilitator (Enchanted Living Forest School) as well as an ordained wedding officiant.

Vixi has shared her stories at numerous festivals, fundraisers, and schools. In 2015, Vixi founded the Appalachian Faerie Folk School in which she 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 through the construction of faerie houses and wings.

Kelti Buchholz

Kelti has been performing on stage since she was seven years old. She has studied music with the Jacque Glenn music school, Asheville music academy, Asheville music school and with Nancy Simmons. She has sang the national anthem for the opening of the Asheville tourist baseball games and for the opening of income county special Olympics spring games. She has been a performing member of the Vanishing Wheelchair for over five years.


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 ConstructionRudolph 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.