Hannah Killebrew is a bubbly, energetic, outgoing, and determined nine-year-old girl.
“There is no stranger, she loves everybody,” Hannah’s mother Melissa said. “She has a very kind spirit, and everybody is a friend.”
Hannah loves playing with the kids in her neighborhood with her younger brother, but that isn’t always easy for her to do. Hannah is on the autism spectrum, has sensory processing disorder, ADHD, and global developmental delay, which can make it difficult for her to do things like ride a bike.
Before she received her AS2011 adaptive bike from Freedom Concepts, Hannah used a tandem bike that attached to her mother’s bike.
“The only time she could go for a bike ride was if I was willing to do the work and ride with her,” Melissa said. “I think the bike helps her feel included. If she feels like ‘Oh, I want to go ride a bike with my friends,’ she can go ride a bike with her friends and not ask me to be with her.”
Hannah also benefits from using the bike for more than just socialization and physical therapy: with the bike, Hannah can work on following directions, going on scavenger hunts in the neighborhood, and learning right from left.
Melissa also loves the confidence and independence Hannah gets from riding the adaptive bike.
“I think she just absolutely enjoys doing it, and it gives her the feeling of ‘I can do this.’”
Hannah first tried a Freedom Concepts bike at physical therapy after it was recommended by her physical therapist. Traditional styles of bikes with training wheels didn’t give Hannah the support she needed to feel safe on the bike, but the semi-recumbent position of the adaptive bike worked well for her.
“I think it was less than a month of working with her on the bike they had at physical therapy that she started pedaling on her own and was cruising down the hallway like it was nothing,” Melissa said.
Now, Hannah pedals so quickly that Melissa or her husband need to jog after her to keep up.
“She’s still learning the steering a little bit more, so we’re really hoping she gets the steering down sooner rather than later,” Melissa said. “Otherwise, we’re going to begin cross-country training to keep up with her.”
While going through the process of getting the bike, Melissa worked with a local rep to enquire about some scholarships Hannah may have qualified for. When Hannah didn’t qualify for any of them, they decided to fill out an application for the Bruce T. Halle Foundation, a foundation that provides grants to employees of Discount Tire, where Melissa’s husband works. They qualified for the grant and received Hannah’s bike right before COVID-19 shut everything down, including the activities they would normally use to get a lot of Hannah’s energy out.
“I definitely think it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Melissa said. “We were kind of forced to play outside in our own neighborhood and our own home and now she had that extra little piece that she was able to use to enjoy the outdoors and get that exercise in.”
Click here to learn more about Freedom Concepts adaptive bikes.