A Statesboro service organization surprised three differently-abled children with bikes at AMBUCS Bike Day. Also, during the event held Sept. 19, 15 children and adults were measured as potential AmTryke recipients at a later Bike Day.
The Statesboro Chapter of AMBUCS is part of a national service organization whose mission is helping create mobility and independence for people with disabilities. The group was started in the United States in 1961 as American Business Clubs. The name changed to AMBUCS and now has more than 5,000 members and 140 chapters in 30 states, including the chapter in Statesboro.
Kirsten Patterson and Katie Rich, therapists from The Therapy SPOT, a speech, physical and occupational therapy facility and supporter of the organization, helped start the local chapter just a little over a year ago. With the donation of these three bikes, the local chapter of AMBUCS has given mobility to 23 youngsters.
The Amtryke Therapeutic Tricycle Program gives away about 3,000 Amtrykes each year in the US.
Ten-year-old Jade, one bike recipient, was thrilled to receive her very first bike. Her father, Shun Newson, was equally excited. He said, “She can finally be mobile. I’ve watched her in the yard, try to ride her brother’s and couldn’t do it. That was frustrating.”
Jade’s favorite part of the bike? The bell attached to the handlebars. She rode a little, rang the bell, smiled at her dad. Then repeated the process.
Isaiah took some time getting used to the new experience of a tryke. He just wanted to cling to his mom, Sarita Fuqua-Rich or dad, Cornelius Rich.
Three-year-old Isaiah was born three months premature at only two pounds. He has Coloboma in both eyes, which affects his field of vision.
Understandably, Mom worries about the days ahead for Isaiah.
“I am extremely excited for Isaiah to get this bike because I think it will give him a little more independence, to gain more stability,” Fuqua-Rich said. “I want him to be more independent so he can be ready for school. Cause Mama is scared. That’s my precious baby. We’ve been through a whole lot – 92 days in NICU. He can’t ride a regular bike.”
Seven-year-old Ozion was the third child to be surprised with a bike of his very own. A broad smile never left his face after climbing aboard the specially-made bike just for him, though most onlookers didn’t have a chance to see the smile as he zoomed past them in the parking lot.
In fact, he was so overjoyed to be mobile at top speeds, that he one time yelled back to his therapist, Katie Rich, “Run; run,” when he wanted her to catch up to him.
To which she replied, “I can’t run – it’s too hot out here.”
Ozion just grinned and kept going.
Ozion’s mother, Sophia Kirkland, said that he had a regular bike in the past, but could not ride it adequately.
“I appreciate so much them helping him get a bike he can ride,” Kirkland said.
A host of volunteers from the community came together to help with the bike give-away, silent auction, carnival games provided by First Baptist Church, crafts and a car/bike wash. Volunteers from the Service League, the Therapy SPOT, the GSU College of Health and Human Sciences and AMBUCS members joined in the fun.
The primary sponsor of the event was Colonial House of Flowers and many organizations and individuals donated to the silent auction.
To find out more about the local chapter or to make a donation, visit the Statesboro AMBUCS Facebook page or call Katie Rich or Kirsten Patterson at the Therapy SPOT at (912) 681-7768.