AmTrykes Get Little Tykes Going
Four-year-old Avalon Pirrone always dreamed of riding a bike. But because she has cerebral palsy, regular tricycles are too difficult for Avalon 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,” said mother Angela. “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 (IKT), 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 IKT 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 IKT last March, after meeting representatives from AMBUCS. The two physical therapists were impressed with 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 said.
IKT relies on fundraising to provide AmTrykes free to keiki. 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 Angela.
Avalon’s progress inspired her mother to help IKT. After raising $3,000 through GoFundMe, Angela helped the group acquire a $2,000 grant from Turtle Bay Foundation.
She’s the driving force behind the organization’s first formal fundraiser at Surfer, The Bar at Turtle Bay Resort from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 6, with a silent auction, raffle prizes and live entertainment. All proceeds go toward purchasing AmTrykes for area keiki.
“I can go on and on about the benefits of these bikes,” Angela said, “but without the accessibility to these life-changing bikes, it just doesn’t matter how great they are.”