For Tyke, New Tryke Is A Life-Changer
Four-year-old Avalon Pirrone always dreamed of riding a bike with her older sister and friends. But because Avalon has cerebral palsy, regular tricycles are too difficult for her to use.
“She slid off, was not able to keep her feet on the pedals or was not able to hold her core weight long enough to actually pedal,” explained mother Angela Pirrone. “We began to think riding a bike wouldn’t be a reality for a very long time, if at all.”
But that was before the Pirrone family was introduced to Imua Kakou Trykes, a chapter of National AMBUCS Inc., an organization that promotes mobility for those with physical or cognitive disabilities.
“The ability to ride a bike independently does more than facilitate mobility,” said Imua Kakou Trykes president Karen Stone. “It gives the opportunity for these keiki to participate in a ‘normal’ childhood activity, alongside brothers, sisters and friends.” Stone and Sandie Wood founded the local chapter last spring after visiting the Mainland and meeting with AMBUCS representatives.
The two physical therapists were impressed by AMBUCS’ AmTryke, a special therapeutic tricycle that can be operated by foot or by hand. “With the high cost of living in Hawaii, many families with children with special needs are already stretched thin and cannot afford to purchase ‘optional’ equipment,” Stone explained.
Thus, Imua Kakou Trykes relies on fundraising to provide AmTrykes to keiki — for free. At its first giveaway Dec. 13 at Kailua District Park, Avalon was among six lucky children to receive a tricycle.
“Since Avalon has received her bike, we have been able to be outside exercising and having fun. We’ve been to the bike path, fed horses, picked up litter — all things we could never do with Avalon before,” said Pirrone. Avalon’s happiness and progress inspired her mother to help Imua Kakou Trykes take things a step further. After raising $3,000 through GoFundMe, Pirrone helped the nonprofit group win a $2,000 grant from Turtle Bay Foundation.
Plus, she’s the driving force behind the organization’s first formal fundraiser at Surfer, The Bar at Turtle Bay Resort, happening from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 6 with a silent auction, raffle prizes and live entertainment. All proceeds go to purchase AmTrykes for children on Imua Kakou Trykes’ wishlist.
“I can go on and on about the benefits of these bikes,” Pirrone said, “but without the accessibility to these life-changing bikes, it just doesn’t matter how great they are.”
For more information on the project, visit imuakakoutrykes.org or find them on Facebook.