Variety of Iowa

Speed. Independence. Freedom. Those three words embody what children love about riding bikes but for children with Spina Bifida, jumping on a traditional bicycle and pedaling away is often not a possibility. Specialized bikes are available for children who can’t balance or pedal a traditional bicycle, but these specialized bikes are too costly for most families to purchase out of pocket, and insurance generally doesn’t cover them. Thanks to Variety of Iowa, the high price tag does not have to be prohibitive to a child with Spina Bifida experiencing their own bicycle adapted to their own abilities and needs.

Isaiah is a 6-year old boy who was born with Spina Bifida and has undergone several surgeries since birth. He is unable to walk independently and primarily crawls or uses a wheelchair for mobility. The specialized bike became Isaiah’s favorite activity when he worked with his physical therapist. He learned to independently pedal the bike, logging several laps up and down the hallways at Blank Children’s Hospital.

Isaiah’s family applied to Variety to grant a bike specialized to his needs. “As a 6-year old with four older siblings, Isaiah is very active and loves to do everything his brothers and sisters do. The specialized bicycle will help with his muscle strength. The social aspect of the bicycle is an added benefit. It will provide more opportunities for Isaiah to engage in social conversation and “normal” activities at home and within his community. This would help boost his self-esteem while providing an opportunity for sports participation, recreation and exercise.”

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Variety invited Isaiah and his family to the Principal Charity Golf Classic Isaiah was presented with his brand new, lime green specialized bicycle, complete with pulley system and a trainer for using it as a stationary bike. Isaiah declined the opportunity to address the crowd, but he eagerly climbed out of his wheelchair and onto his new bike and rode it proudly off of the green and onto the patio of the clubhouse.

Isaiah has spent many hours biking with his siblings. It is amazing to think about what a difference a small thing like a bicycle can make in the life of a child who often does not get to experience the same independence as other children. When Isaiah was asked what the best thing about his new bike was, he had one word, “Speed.” What joy it brings to our hearts that he gets to experience the thrill of speed!

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