Conlan’s Freedom Concepts bike, gifted from The McLindon Family Foundation, is not just a bike for my son. It has such a deeper meaning! This bike defines ability â€“ letting Conlan be independent and giving him pride! It is inclusion at its best. For the first time ever, at the age of 7 years old, he rode a bike with his sister. He also got to hang out with the neighborhood children his age, and for once the view of the child in the wheelchair vanished and they were all so focused on Conlanâ€™s awesome new bike! Conlan was all smiles.
For Mom, it means using those hips again!! Hidden therapy at its finest, including working on stretching those hamstrings, getting those hips in motion, strengthening his core muscles, head control, hand coordination and even helped with keeping his hands out of his mouth and worked on grasping the handlebars – an ability he lost during his regression.
Inclusion, therapy, a new found independence, finally allowing siblings to take part in typicalÂ sibling activities… these are all miracles we never take for granted and without the Freedom Concepts bike and The McLindon Family Foundation, Conlan would never have experienced such pure happiness!
Timothy has moderate CP and went through a very successful SDR procedure in St Louis in early November to release the spasticity in his legs. This bike was a Christmas present for him and it’s been a true joy to watch him enjoy it. It’s like watching the little guy experience freedom…for the first time being able to match his friends and siblings in a physical activity is very cool. Really appreciate all the thought and quality that went into this bike.
This is Hannah. Hannah is a very vibrant and determined 14 year old young lady born with an unbalanced translocation of chromosomes 13 and 18, along with an underdeveloped corpus callosum. By the age of 7 Hannah was diagnosed with a seizure disorder called Lennox – Gastaut and most recently underwent Achilles lengthening surgery for a club foot. But Hannah has never let that get her down.
She enjoys spending time outdoors playing with bubbles, side walk chalk and splashing in the pool. She loved long walks in her stroller and after the experience of seeing Hannah ride a bike at Euro-Peds Physical Therapy in Michigan, with whom Freedom has had a long time friendship, her Mom realized this was a new opportunity for her to be doing something she enjoys- but rather than just sitting, she will get exercise and build much-needed muscle tone and stamina. Because a Freedom Conceptsâ€™ adaptive therapy tricycle is a custom design for each child, we are able to help children like Hannah all over the world.
An attempt to get coverage through insurance was not successful but Hannah gets her determination from her Mom and neither she, nor we, were about to give up! We went to the Freedom Concepts gift registry to start fundraising and the donations started to come in. But Hannah and her Mom were also lucky enough to be surrounded by a loving and passionate community that wanted to pitch in and help Hannah get her bike!
PartyLite Candles hosted a fundraiser as well- everyone joining in to help raise funds for Hannah. After many months and the contributions of many supporters, finally we were able to get Hannah her bike for Christmas. This truly was an example of a community coming together, led by a very driven Mom. Mom said
“OMG! It’s here. it’s beautiful. I cried. Hannahs face is priceless,thank you so much.”
Equipment is an enormous part of the lives of special needs children and their families.Â Used for anything from mobility and therapy, to feeding and bathing, our daily lives revolve around equipment, and no one piece is exactly the same.Â Every child is different, as is the preference of every single parent or caregiver.
When we started our equipment journey in the spring of 2013, I had no idea what was out there.Â Â Wheel chairs, gait trainers, bath seatsâ€¦ the list goes on.Â Not only are there so many different pieces of equipment, most need to be replaced after as little as two years due to a child growing or needing different options.Â Because of my daughter Jillianâ€™s every day needs, a bike never crossed my mind.
Back in September, my husband came across an article about a child who received a bike from Freedom Concepts, Inc.Â He decided to email the contact that he found, James Wall, who graciously offered to bring a DCP12 tricycle to our home on September 22nd, for our daughter to try out.Â I was skeptical that she would like the bike.Â In fact, I was sure that putting her on it would be nothing but a screaming fest.
James arrived and we got ready to test out this new piece of equipment.Â As we were putting Jillian on the bike, she had this enormous smile on her face.Â When we got her all ready to go she just took off, like she had been riding for her entire life.Â There wasnâ€™t a single ounce of fight like there is with other equipment.Â Every single moment in the hour that James spent in our home was sheer joy for Jillian.Â I remember the look on her face, and the disappointment in her sweet little voice that followed for days afterwards as she asked, â€śI go round and round?â€ť, and â€śI bike?â€ťÂ It took so much of me to not break down.Â I was heartbroken that we couldnâ€™t fund this on our own, but I was determined to find a way.
We knew that our insurance wouldnâ€™t cover this bike, as they deemed it a â€śrecreational itemâ€ť.Â However, the amazing people at Freedom Concepts knew of a foundation local to us that have covered these bikes in the past.Â The only catch was that the deadline for their application was in less than ten days, on October 1st.Â The Bloomfield Foundation had a short application, but it required letters of medical diagnosis and medical necessity along with a denial letter from insurance.Â In my experience, it takes longer than ten days just to talk to a real person unless itâ€™s an emergency.Â I had to at least try.
I started the process on September 24th, and October 1st was the following Thursday.Â I had no time to spare at this point.Â After numerous phone calls and a few emails to the right people, I had the ball rolling in the right direction.Â Jillianâ€™s PT had a letter written up in less than 24 hours, and we started the process to get the denial from our insurance.Â I wrote a letter about Jillian, explaining that we had no other sources of funding, and how much this bike would mean to our family.Â I contacted outside agencies (as requested in Bloomfieldâ€™s application) asking if they would help with funding, but we were turned down.
On Monday, September 28th, I sent Jillianâ€™s application the fastest way the post office would send it.Â I crossed my fingers and I cried when I handed that envelope to the postman (I probably looked like a fool).Â I prayed that it would make it into the hands of the right person; someone who would read the letter I wrote, and see a little girl who just wanted to be included and have some freedom that she could control.Â I wanted Jillian to have something she could truly enjoy doing without making it feel like work, and I wanted to see her ride her bike with her twin brother.
After weeks of waiting, and many emails to this incredible woman named Shawna, who works behind the scenes, I got the email we were waiting for.Â I will never forget the moment I opened my email and read those words, â€śJames just got the email approval from Bloomfield for Jillianâ€™s bike!!â€ťÂ I burst into tears and started jumping up and down!Â I had lost hope since it had been over 6 weeks, and I was prepared to resubmit another application in January.Â So, to say I was shocked was an understatement!
Many parents and caregivers are doubtful, just like I was.Â I was sure that we would have to raise the money ourselves, because there is no place out there that would pay for a bike for my daughter but, there is, and they did!Â So many special needs children can benefit from a Freedom Concepts bike, and there are so many organizations out there that are willing to help.Â You just have to be willing to take a little bit of time to contact them.Â There are people out there who will help you through the process, and after my experience with Freedom Concepts, and the gracious foundation who funded my daughterâ€™s bike I want to help other families make this a reality for their incredible kiddos!
Thank you Freedom Concepts and thank you Bloomfield Foundation.Â You made our dream come true!
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!!!!