The Statesboro chapter of AMBUCS, a national service organization whose mission is creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities, will host a miniature golf fundraiser at The Clubhouse from 5-8 p.m. Thursday.
During the fundraiser, five children from the community will receive AmTryke adaptive bicycles with help from a variety of sponsors.
Thursday morning, the Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro will present a check — enough to pay for two AmTrykes — to Statesboro AMBUCS representatives, and one child will receive an adaptive bike during the presentation.
Since its inception in late 2013 and receiving its charter in March, the Statesboro AMBUCS group has given away eight bikes, including two that were donated from the Savannah AMBUCS chapter.
Jason Michael Carpenter was the first recipient of a specially made bike in December. At a Trek for Trykes fundraiser in March, organized by Swim.Bike.Run and held at Mill Creek Regional Park, Brett Burkhalter, Christopher Schmidt, Olivia Wellman and Brady Blythe were given the gift of mobility.
The lead sponsors of the event, Statesboro Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Inc. and Running for a Reason, along with donations from other small groups and individuals, helped secure three of the trykes, and the Savannah AMBUCS chapter provided the fourth bike.
Faye Blythe, the mother of 3-year-old recipient Brady Blythe, said it was emotional to see Brady ride a bike for the first time.
"His older brother had a bike when he was 2 or 3, and I never thought this would be an option for Brady," Blythe said. Brady, born two months premature, has Global Development Delays that stem from a rare genetic disorder.
"For me, Brady's had so much going on in his life that I forget the ‘normal' things that he's missing out on," Blythe added. "It's helped us feel more like a typical family - something we can do as a whole family."
Blythe shared that when she first found out her second child was another boy, she looked forward to the bond the brothers, two years apart, would have and the fun things they would do. That scenario changed with Brady's difficulties after birth.
But, she added, after Brady received his AmTryke: "Tyler was so excited for Brady. He said, ‘Now we can ride bikes together.'"
Another new bike owner, 15-year-old Christopher Schmidt, suffered a spinal cord injury when he was 7 and has been wheelchair-bound since that time.
"And, man, can he fly on it," Schmidt said when her son received his new wheels.
More recipients include Jenni Wright, who received her AmTryke at Brooklet Methodist Church in early May, and Jake Palmer and Jadan Wilkerson, who received their bikes at the Main Street Statesboro Farmers Market in collaboration with a large donation, to fund the two bikes, from BB&T.
Through donations, AMBUCS provides adaptive and therapeutic tricycles, called "AmTrykes," to those who cannot ride a traditional bicycle. Each bike is designed and assembled to meet the individual needs of the recipient. Some trykes are foot-propelled, some hand-propelled and some are hand- and foot-propelled.
Kirsten Patterson and Katie Rich, therapists from The Therapy SPOT, a speech, physical and occupational therapy facility, helped start the Statesboro AMBUCS chapter. Patterson, the Statesboro AMBUCS president, encourages all interested persons to attend open meetings, held on the first Thursday of the month, at 6 p.m. in the Education Room at East Georgia Regional Medical Center.