Children with disabilities got the chance to ride bicycles through Columbus Community Hospital’s Amtryke Fitting Day held May 19 in the Columbus Wellness Center.
The fitting day was part of the eighth annual "We Can Run, Walk and Roll" event.
Parents were filled with joy as they watched their children ride the Amtryke bikes, which are adaptive tricycles specifically designed for those with special needs.
“I think he will love it when he’s at home with the bike and I will be able to help him steer because, with regular bikes, he can’t steer himself,” said parent Kari Voichahosae, who was with her son for the fitting.
Therese Chase, physical therapist at Wiggles and Giggles Therapy for Kids, noted the increasing need in the community for such equipment and service.
The event was catered for individuals of all ages with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, alignment issues and tight muscles. Chase said Amtryke fitting days have helped participants as young as 2 in the past.
Past participants of the hospital's annual fundraising race and children who underwent physical therapy at Wiggles and Giggles Therapy for Kids were invited to participate in the fitting.
Participants were fitted for Amtrykes at the event and staff then custom-ordered attendees' Amtrykes based to their needs. Each bike varies in price ranging from $600 to $1,200 depending on the size. The hospital has donated a total of 35 Amtrykes throughout the years.
Some attendees were first-timers while some outgrew their older bikes and needed a newer one. Chase said that it may take several weeks for trikes to arrive and once they do, a few additional adjustments may need to be made before recipients take them home.
Physical therapists helped each participant adjust the bike according to their needs and disabilities. There were options for individuals with visual impairment, as well, thanks to the addition of the rear steering.
“The Amtryke seemed to help him out more and keep him safer,” said parent Amber Johannes. “He likes to lean a lot and he doesn’t have very good balance.”
Johannes helped her son, Gage, with the fitting. Gage, who has cerebral palsy, outgrew his old bike. He spends most of his time in a wheelchair, so he was excited to have a change of space.
“He likes independence and the fact that he actually gets to be like a normal kid and have that fun like everybody else,” Amber said.
Every year, the fitting day is funded by the hospital’s 5k and 1 Mile run fundraiser that takes place annually in the fall. This year’s race will be held on Oct. 6. People who are interested to participate can register online at columbushosp.org.
The Johanneses have been avid supporters of the race and the fitting days. They’ve participated in the run together since the beginning and have only missed out on one.
“We try to get anybody we can to participate with us and bring awareness to all this and to help out and it’s fun to do,” Amber said.
Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.