Woodward, Okla. —
A child's first bicycle can often be as exciting for the parents as it is for the child.
But for the parents and grandparents of children with certain disabilities, that exciting experience may feel out of their reach.
That's why AMBUCS, a national service organization dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities, has created the AmTryke program.
The AmTryke is a therapeutic tricycle designed and developed by physical therapists especially for children and adults who face a variety of physical, neurological or developmental disorders, so that they too can enjoy the experience of riding their own cycles.
Thanks to the Woodward Mid-Day AMBUCS, 2 area families recently got to enjoy their child's first bicycle experience.
In honor of October being National AmTryke Month, the local AMBUCS club presented 9-year-old Shane Holcom-Fry, of Alva, and 17-year-old Clarissa Arrey, of Vici, with their own AmTrykes.
"I just want to ride my bike," the 3rd grader Shane said after being shown his new AmTryke. "It's awesome."
The more reserved Clarissa simply said, "I like it" when receiving her AmTryke, but showed off a big grin once placed on it for her first ride.
And as both children smiled at seeing their new cycles during their recent presentation ceremonies, their guardians were beaming with joy right along with them.
"This is her first bike and for us it's a big deal," Clarissa's mother Stacey Arguello said.
A CHANCE TO RIDE
Both Clarissa's parents and Shane's grandparents had desperately wanted their children to share with their peers in enjoying going for bicycle rides. They had even purchased traditional bicycles for their children, but soon learned that Shane's and Clarissa's physical limitations wouldn't allow them to operate the bikes normally.
Clarissa is diagnosed with cerebral palsy while Shane has been diagnosed with macrocephaly, hydrocephaly and both cognitive and physical developmental deficits.
"We always wanted her (Clarissa) to have a bike," Arguello said. "We even tried to make her one when she was younger by modifying a regular bike, but it didn't work out."
Shane's grandmother Donna Holcom shared how upset her grandson became when he realized that he didn't have a bicycle like other boys and girls his age.
"Two or three years ago, they had a bicycle safety presentation at his school," Donna Holcom said. "He came home crying, saying 'boohoo, I don't have a bicycle.' So we went out and got a regular bike for him, but he can't sit on it himself. I have to hold on to him while he's on it. And he can't pedal it himself, so I push him up and down the street."
However, with their new AmTrykes, Clarissa and Shane can begin building up their strength, coordination, range of motion, and mobility so that maybe they soon will be wheeling around on their own.
"I like for him to do what other kids do," Donna Holcom said of Shane. "Sometimes it's hard though and with him getting bigger, it's harder to pick him up anymore. So this AmTryke will allow him to be more mobile on his own."