WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Learning to ride a bike is a goal that many kids have from a young age, but for some, it’s not as simple or as cheap as going to the store and picking one out.
“I continue to be amazed by how much things cost for special needs families, and I know a lot of special needs families don’t have those resources and support to be able to provide those things for their child,” said Bridget Meyers of Wyoming.
When her daughter Avery was six months old, a seizure sent the young girl to the emergency room, where her parents learned she had a malformation in her brain. Doctors also discovered a genetic disorder.
“Everything that Avery has in her life is adapted in some way or another, so she uses a wheelchair, she uses a special highchair at this point to be able to sit in. Special floor seats inside,” her mom said.
But Bridget and her husband Rich are determined to do everything they can to make sure Avery still gets as many of the same experiences as other kids.
Avery loves the pool and riding horses and is very active at Mary Free Bed with physical and occupational therapy. That’s where her parents found out about an event called Bikes for the Rest of Us, which helps pair children and adults with an adaptive bike to meet their physical needs.
Avery attended the event in the spring, and they found the perfect ride with a reclining seat, special harnesses, lateral supports to hold Avery up, an adjustable handlebar, and footplates that velcro her feet into place. When her parents went to order it, they had a bit of sticker shock when they learned the bike would cost $4,500.
“Mary free bed does have a program that offsets the cost for us,” Bridget said. “And then my sister-in-law in Wisconsin put on a fundraiser for us and we had over 100 people donate here in Michigan and there in Wisconsin for the bike.”
Bridget and Rich were asked to raise a total of $2,500. The fundraiser not only covered that, but the Meyers was able to donate an additional $5,000 back to Mary Free Bed to support other kids and adults in need of an adaptive bike. They’ll also be able to donate Avery’s bike when she outgrows it.
Bridget said her family was blown away by the support they received and continue to get. She added that if she’s learned anything from the experience of having a child with special needs, it’s to remember that you never know what someone might be dealing with.
“Sometimes it’s very apparent on the outside that she might have some challenges and sometimes it’s, you know, people are fighting things internally or have diagnosis that you don’t see on the outside, so just going into every day with an open mind and trying to enjoy life the best we can.”
You can learn more about Avery’s journey on her Facebook page, AVERY – A Very Special Girl.