In 2011, Alia Wright and her son Sammy Jackson were in a car accident where Sammy suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him unable to walk and talk.
“At first he couldn’t move anything, but he’s gotten a lot better over the many years of physical therapy,” Alia said. “He has some seizures here and there, but overall he’s doing pretty good.”
Alia describes 11-year old Sammy as goofy and silly, with lots of personality.
“He’s almost sarcastic a little bit, even though he can’t talk. Even his therapists agree,” Alia said. “And he’s very, very charming. He will bat his eyes at you and caress your hand, anything to get his way.”
Sammy can walk using a walker for short distances and uses a wheelchair for most outside situations. He also uses his Freedom Concepts DCP adaptive bike.
Alia learned about Freedom Concepts through Sammy’s school, which had some adaptive bikes. When some of Sammy’s classmates were getting adaptive bikes of their own, one of their parents gave Alia information on how to get one through Variety of Georgia. Alia contacted Variety of Georgia and worked with them to get Sammy an adaptive bike.
Sammy also uses an adaptive bike at physical therapy, which he goes to four times a week.
“The repetition is what the therapist said is helping him strengthen his legs even more because he uses it at therapy and we use it as often as possible at home.”
Alia said they’re grateful the bike gives their family a way to go outside with Sammy in a way that feels normal.
“When you go outside pushing a wheelchair, it doesn’t feel like just going for a walk,” Alia said. “I’m just so grateful for that feeling of ‘This is a normal activity that people do with their kids that doesn’t feel like a task.’”
When Sammy and his family go for a walk, Sammy needs to be in a wheelchair, jogging stroller, or use a walker.
“He’s 11 and a half, so riding in a jogging stroller doesn’t feel normal,” Alia said. “And when we take him outside with his walker, we have to help him with steering and going over bumps. So the bike feels like he’s working or doing therapy, but he’s able to have fun.”
Alia said she feels proud when she sees Sammy riding his bike. When they first got the bike, Sammy couldn’t propel at all. Alia said the more he rides it, the more he tries to propel.
“I’m proud of his strength and that his leg muscles are actually working, but also proud because he’s able to be out with the other kids on our street,” Alia said. “It’s better than him being out in his wheelchair or walker because the rest of them are on their bikes, and now he can be too.”
Alia is looking forward to the day when her sons can ride their bikes together.
“As his little brother gets older, he’ll be able to ride his bike next to him, but it’ll feel normal. And I really love that.”