When I was a child, I can remember the excitement I felt one Christmas morning waking up and seeing a new bike. This past June I got to re-live those feelings, BUT this was 100 times better!
Our daughter Ema (6.5 years old) has something called Rett syndrome. IMAGINE the symptoms of autism, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and anxiety disorder…all in one little girl. Ema was born in December 2008 in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. She is the youngest of 5 children. She has a micro-deletion on the 22.33 gene and has been diagnosed with having Rett Syndrome with a unique MECP2 gene deletion.
We received notification from Ema’s school occupational therapist saying Ema received funding from the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation for a bike from Freedom Concepts. (Both Manitoba organizations)
For many children and families today, getting a new bike isn’t that exciting. For our family it is HUGE!
Ema was presented her new bike in August surround by the wonderful people who helped make this happen. The funds were raised by an event called ROAD to REHAB.
Road to Rehab was started 14 years ago by Les Wiens and Cal Higgins from Investors Group. Long-time supporters of the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation, Les and Cal recruited family and friends to do a long-distance cycling trip over a weekend to raise money for the Foundation.
The bike was manufactured by Freedom Concepts, a company right here in Manitoba. www.freedomconcepts.com . Ema requires some special items such as a high back seat and harness for support in case she has a seizure while riding. Ema actually had a seizure when she was using the borrowed bike and then a second one on her own bike a few weeks ago. The safety options on these bikes made sure Ema remained uninjured. The requirements for each bike vary so much. Each individual is unique SO it require each bike to also be unique. I have no fear of anything ever happening to Ema while she is on her bike. These bikes are amazing.
It isnâ€™t just the quality and uniqueness of these bikes that make me so excited. These bikes mean so many different things for the children and the families receiving them. For Ema, it gives her the chance to be like all the other children at school. It also gives her the chance to be like her big brothers and sister. To see her smile and be proud â€¦ is priceless. For Lionel and I, we get to see her remaining active. Keeping her moving and mobile is something we work very hard on each day.
And when Ema has outgrown her bike, we will take it to the Rehabilitation Centre so other families can enjoy it as much as we have.
This summer, I took Afton on “Adventure Walks” every weekend that I was with her. She loved the change from her wheelchair, and the positive attention she got in the neighborhood.Â Older neighbor girls loved taking her along to wherever the kids were congregating, so she was able to be more involved. We loved that for her. The firstÂ picture is of a friend taking her for a little jaunt!
Ready, steady, cycleâ€¦Twenty years and three bikes later, I am an avid believer in the products produced by Freedom Concepts. As a parent of a child with CP, a member of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba and the coordinator of CPAMâ€™s Stationary Bike Race, I, like many others, continue to benefit from Freedom Conceptsâ€™ generosity and expertise. Thousands of us do. Partnerships like ours make believers of us all.
Take the awarding of a Freedom Concepts Chill-Out Chair to three-year old Jacoby Zebinski from Selkirk, Manitoba. Prior to the gifting, Jacoby could not be left alone without support for more than a few minutes. He needed to be propped up properly and continuously throughout the day. At the annual CPAM Prize Day, held at Great-West Life, FC and CPAM changed all that. Jacoby was awarded an army-brown upholstered custom-made Chill-Out Chair, which provides him with proper support, enabling him to sit alone with ease. His mother is not the only one whoâ€™s thrilled.
â€śWhat Jacoby likes best of all, however, is his ability to sit and play with his twin sister and friends,â€ť says his mother, Vanessa Zebinsky. â€śIn his Chill-Out Chair, Jacoby joins us for dinner at our level; he watches baseball and participates fully without requiring such constant attention. Itâ€™s a relief for the entire family. And no doubt about it, Jacoby enjoys his independence.â€ť
My daughter, now in her fifth year at university, still enjoys racking up the number of times she circles our home Crescent on her Freedom Concepts bike. Increasing fitness and maximizing independence creates a recipe for a more enjoyable future. Freedom Concepts energy assists us all in achieving it.
CPAM Bike Race Coordinator
We are very fortunate and would like to extend a very special thank you to Freedom Concepts and First Hand Foundation for their support for Jordanâ€™s custom bike. Jordan is having a great time on his bike and it is also beneficial therapeutically. I truly believe with the many prayers, support of his therapist at Beyond Therapy and his favorite of all The Little Lighthouse – Central Mississippi my little guy will one day walk. Thank you all for helping put a smile on my little guy’s face… On behalf of my family and I, I express heartfelt thanks to each of you!
We would like to thank Freedom Concepts for designing these bikes for kids. Not only does this make physical therapy so much more fun but for the very first time it offers Oliver freedom of mobility! He is able to propel on his own with all the proper supports for “his” safety. This bike also allows Oliver for the very first time to interact with his peers, equally!!
Our family will forever be grateful for giving our son the freedom of mobility and socialization! We will definitely look them up again when he outgrows this one!!!!
I wanted to send you this video of Izzie’s inaugural bike ride that was held a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco. As you can see from the video, we had a big bike ride to celebrate her “new ride” and Izzie is completely in love with her new adaptive bicycle. Thank you so much for all of your help in giving Izzie the opportunity to ride along side her friends and family. This means the world to her and to our family to have Izzie be able to participate in physical activities along side other children. We truly do appreciate your involvement in the Great Bike Giveaway, which was our first step towards our journey of trying to achieve the dream of an adaptive bicycle for her. What had turned out to be a disappointment when she did not win in the raffle, ended up being something so much more when friends and family refused to see Izzie miss out on the opportunity of having her very own bike and showed their love and support of Izzie by putting together along with Freedom Concepts, a wonderful fundraiser that was successful in just four days.
Thank you so much for your help during this process and to Freedom Concepts for their participation in the Great Bike Giveaway and for helping to make the world for those with disabilities about inclusion and not seclusion.
Our twin girls were born at 25 weeks, and as a result of the prematurity Halie now has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy.Â She is not able to sit, talk, walk, or eat on her own.Â We are always trying to come up with other positioning for her so she is not always sitting in her wheelchair, laying on the floor, or sitting in someoneâ€™s lap.Â Her therapist recommended the Chill-Out Chair they had at their clinic and we had seen it at the Abilities Expo as well.Â We received the chair a couple of months ago and it has been such a blessing.Â It can be easily moved from one room to the next and her sister can even move it as well!Â It is a safe, comfortable alternative so she can sit back and watch on the Ipad with her sister and doesnâ€™t have to be held all the time.Â Halie is able to interact/play with her twin sister easier.Â So thankful for this chair, it gives her the freedom I know she needs!
Thanks again so much!Â Next thing is to save up for the bike for her so she can play outside with her sister.Â She loves the adaptive bike she uses at therapy.
This experience was amazing. Not only for Jastiny but for me and my family. We always try to make Jastiny have a normal life and give her an opportunity to play with her brother and sisters. We go through so many tricycles and play cars. And none of them would help her due to her condition. And then we met with Freedom Concepts and Virginia and her family from Joey’s Friends Too and gave Jastiny this amazing opportunity to be part their family and let her have a chance to play along with her brother and sister. And we could thank you enough for everything that you did to make this happen for her.
Thank you so much for giving her the opportunity to be more included with peers and the ability to go biking again!!
Bella rode for most of the afternoon after it was dropped off. She is already determined to ride in the Manitoba Marathon – the Junior 5K part and says “I will race one day Mama!” LOL. She sits very nice in this bike and fits her quite well.
Thank you for this opportunity for her for physically, socially, and mentally.