Many disabled children are not able to ride bikes due to physical impairments or restricted movement and co-ordination difficulties, which is why Whizz-Kidz trikes. These allow freedom of independent movement – providing the young person with a safe and fun way to exercise and the chance to make friends and develop their confidence.
Keelan, from Manchester has congenital myopathy, a condition that causes his muscles to become weak and can make him feel very tired. He sometimes needs to use a wheelchair to get around because he lacks the strength to walk. Prior to receiving his trike from Whizz-Kidz in 2014, Keelan had become increasingly frustrated and would burst into tears if he saw his older brother, Conall, go out and ride his bike. As a result, his parents decided it would be best for Conall to stop riding his bike as it was too upsetting for Keelan.
Keelan's mum, Vonda, said:
‘It was always heart-breaking as a parent to not only see your child cry at thought of not being able to join in with his friends and brother to ride a bike, but we then had to ban our other son from riding his bike so that it was fairer on his little brother. We tried to tell Conall that this would be a temporary measure, but that is hard to explain to a 9 year old.
‘We first came into contact with Whizz-Kidz from volunteers collecting at our local supermarket and so I would regularly give to them. A specialist nurse at our local NHS suggested we apply to the charity for a specially adapted trike for Keelan. We had researched trikes in the past but didn’t really know what we were looking for and it was quite expensive.
‘As part of Keelan’s special educational needs (SEN) learning plan, his school highlighted that he had identified being able to ride a bike as something that was important to him, and something he was not able to do. Therefore, we knew we had to do something.
‘A therapist from Whizz-Kidz completed a telephone assessment and from this identified the correct equipment necessary to enable Keelan had the best possible piece of equipment to suit his needs.
‘Keelan was delighted when he received his new trike from Whizz-Kidz. We had a few of his friends over and he was so proud to show everyone how he could ride his trike. It was also lovely to see our two sons finally being able to ride their bikes together. In fact, Conall learnt to ride his bike without stabilisers in a matter of days because he was so excited to use it!
‘It’s such a relief as a parent to see Keelan keeping up with all the other kids. He will always be a bit slower than them but this new equipment at least helps him to join in with his peers. He’s a lot more confident now and was absolutely made up to show off his new bike to all of his friends!
‘I would have found it very difficult to have understood what a difference a specialist trike could make before now. It is amazing, thank you so much to Whizz-Kidz!’