Many kids will find a shiny new bike under their Christmas tree next week. But some parents can't get their kids a bike, because often children with disabilities either can't ride a bike or they need a special one that's very expensive. A new organization is trying to change that.
LeVonte Johnson uses a walker to get around. The 10-year-old has Spina Bifida and receives physical therapy at St. Joe Medical Center. This day is special though -- he gets to ride a brand new bicycle.
Its a donation from the Michiana chapter of AMBUCS -- which stands for American Business Clubs. Their mission is to provide mobility and independence to people with disabilities. One way they do that: through Amtrykes -- therapudic tricycles.
The Michiana Chapter was created in September and this month they made their first donation of Amtrykes to the Pediatric Therapy Unit at St. Joseph Medical Center. The two trikes were paid for through AMBUCS, put together and delivered by firefighters, and will be used to help kids that need occupational or physical therapy.
"When you see the smiles on the faces of the children that are riding them and you know how it is going to benefit them," says Edna Parcell, the President of the Michiana Chapter of AMBUCS, "anything you do is worth the effort."
Lavonte is the first patient to use the bike. He was all smiles as he rode the shiny red bike up and down the hall for the first time. His therapist, Miriam Tribbett, was surprised to see how well he did. In fact, she needed to run just to keep up with him.
"There are a lot of benefits to bike riding, strengthening, flexibility, coordination, and just having fun like he other kids," says Tribbett who is also the supervisor of Pediatric Therapy at the medical center.
LeVonte was showing off his strength and his smile for WSBT's camera during and after his bike ride. But often, this kind of therapy is out of reach. One bike costs more than $1,000. Thanks to AMBUCS though, LeVonte, the child that has trouble walking is now making great strides on the new bike.