bicycle gives teen with cp the chance to live his dream

While most of us associate the long Fourth of July holiday weekend with picnics and fireworks celebrations, it’s also a time when many people take advantage of their favorite warm weather activities such as boating, golfing, gardening and bike riding.

Unfortunately, these enjoyable activities that many of us take for granted are either very challenging or seemingly impossible for those people diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder diagnosed either at birth or shortly thereafter that can cause a range of medical problems, including muscle spasms and mobility issues.

This was long the case for a 14-year-old boy from the Midwest, who was diagnosed with spastic diplegia, a type of CP characterized by leg muscle tightening, when he was just one-and-a-half. While a surgical procedure has allowed him to walk without the use of leg braces, his condition has nevertheless prevented him from fulfilling his dream of riding a bike.

While the boy — we’ll call him Chris — and his father had looked for viable options in stores over the years, they continued to be stymied such that it appeared as if Chris’ entire bike riding experience would be limited to a modified tricycle he rode as an infant.

Thanks to the efforts of the local chapter of Watermark for Kids, a nonprofit “committed to empowering underserved kids to express their true selves and thrive,” Chris is now able to hit the road on a bicycle of his very own.

The modified bike given to Chris, which cost over $1,000, is designed to attach to a standard bike or tandem bike, doubling or even tripling the pedaling power.

In addition to the bike, Watermark also gave Chris $200 to cover the costs of bike gear, including a helmet. Perhaps most significant, however, the charity donated $180 to cover the costs of an annual 250-mile bicycle trip taken by members of his church, an activity he has wanted to participate in for years.

“He’s just a really neat kid,” said a Watermark representative. “His disability … doesn’t seem to get him down other than the fact that he really wanted to go on the bike trip and hasn’t been able to.”

Here’s hoping that the bike not only brings Chris great happiness, but that his story also serves as an inspiration to other kids diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

If you think that your child’s diagnosis of cerebral palsy can be attributed to the medical negligence of an OB/GYN or a misdiagnosis by a pediatrician, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options.

Source: The Kalamazoo Gazette, “Teen with cerebral palsy making 250-mile bike trip with gift from local charity,” Stephen Brooks, June 23, 2014

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