16 Children Receive Adaptive Bikes from Shriners Children’s Northern California
Sixteen children are experiencing one of the greatest joys of childhood, thanks to a popular program at Shriners Children’s Northern California. Now in its seventh year, BikeFit helps kids who are unable to ride a standard two-wheel bike enjoy the same physical and mental benefits as other children, as they learn to ride custom adaptive tricycles.
“There is nothing better than having a patient complete our six-week summer program, and then come back excitedly to show photos of them riding alongside their siblings on the bike trail,” said BikeFit Program Lead Laura van Houtryve, PT, MPT. “It warms my heart every time and lets me know that all of the hard work pays off.”
On a breezy summer day in downtown Sacramento, California, inspirational music blared as more than two dozen excited kids donned helmets, mounted their new bikes and tentatively tested the pedals, gaining confidence with each crank as staff and volunteers accompanied them around a 2-mile circuit. Since every child is unique, each bike is built to their exact specifications with a variety of accessories such as easy-to-steer handlebars, hand brakes, pedal straps, movable trunk supports, baskets, adjustable seats and a bright orange flag for added safety.
Supportive parents and family members formed an enthusiastic cheering section, joined by Sacramento State University physical therapy students and the Sacramento Police Department, whose officers blocked off an entire tree-lined street so children had plenty of room to rock and roll on their new rides. Shouts of encouragement echoed throughout the medical campus as passersby stopped to marvel at kids living their best lives.
“This is just a tremendous gift for us, for our family,” one grateful mother told a local TV station that was on hand to capture the event. “I cannot express enough how happy I am to see him smiling.”
Custom adaptive bikes don’t come cheap, with the average price tag around $2,000. Thanks to generous donors, the 16 bikes were provided at no cost to the families. Removing barriers to freedom, fun and recreation through philanthropic support is what makes innovative programs like BikeFit so attractive to donors.
Even as grateful parents were loading the new bikes into trucks and SUVs, plans were in the works for making next year’s event bigger and better. Another group of patients anxiously awaits the day when they can ride their own custom adaptive bikes. Thanks to Shriners Children’s Northern California and generous community support, those dreams will soon become reality.
Learn more about BikeFit and other innovative patient programs at Shriners Children’s Northern California.
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