Mikey and Scott Curtiss were test-riding adaptive bikes with their son, Scotty, when they learned that 5,224 area residents were clicking away to help their son win a specialized bike in an online contest.
Scotty, 15, who has autism, has never been able to ride a regular bike because he has no center of balance. It wasn’t until an adaptive bike event at Christ Hospital that he was able to find a bike he could ride.
The Curtisses were touched beyond belief to learn of residents’ efforts to help a boy they had never met to win a bicycle.
Scotty, a student in Shepard High School’s autism program, had even picked out a color for his adaptive bike -- red. Sadly, he didn’t win one of the expensive adaptive bikes, but thanks to our wonderful readers, he came pretty darn close.
After seeing the look of pure joy and freedom on her son’s face as he rode around the parking lot of a St. Charles bike store, his mom, Mikey, decided that no matter what, her son was going to get his bike.
“Watching him ride the adaptive bike was awesome,” Mikey Curtiss wrote on the Oak Lawn Patch Facebook page. “He is getting a bike even if he doesn't win! We are all winners, we feel so blessed to have so many people vote for him! We thank God for each and every one of you!! Truly, thank you from our entire family!!!”
A St. Charles-based non-profit organization, Project Mobility, has since volunteered to help Scotty get his Sun EZ-3 bike. Project Mobility works to improve the quality of life for children, adults and wounded service members with emotional and physical challenges.
Family friend Lynn Church put the Curtisses in touch will Hal Honeyman, the founder of Project Mobility and owner of The Bike Rack in St. Charles, where Scotty was test-driving bikes. Honeyman became interested in adaptive cycling when his own son, Jacob, was born with cerebral palsy.
He understands what the Curtiss family is up against, and the added expenses of having a special needs child.
“We made too much income to qualify for anything, and not enough to catch up,” Honeyman said.
Mikey and Scott Curtiss are a rock for other parents with autistic and special needs children. They volunteer for the Oak Lawn Park District’s special recreation programs; Scott Curtiss is a coach for the Oak Lawn Eagles Special Olympics basketball team.
They’d do more, but like many autistics, their son is a stickler for routine, so most of their time is spent at home with Scotty.
“Mikey and Scott give so much to others, but never expect or want anything back,” Church said. “This will be hard for them to accept, but we want to do this for them and for Scotty.”
Patch figures that if 5,224 people who voted for Scott each gave a dollar or more to Project Mobility, Scott would get his red adaptive bike by Easter (April 20), and we could give a few more specialized bikes to some other local children on Project Mobility’s grant list.
Project Mobility, a 501(c)3 organization, has set up a GoFundMe account on its website. Make a donation using your credit or debit card. At the very bottom of the form where it says “comments,” indicate that the donation is for SCOTT CURTISS.Contributors can also call The Bike Rack at 800-711-BIKE (800-711-2453) and make a donation over the phone, or send a check payable to Project Mobility, ℅ the Bike Rack, 2930 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles, IL, 60175. Be sure to mention the donation is for Scott Curtiss.
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We've updated a few things on this story: Scotty Curtiss has advanced to the Oak Lawn Eagles team. And while Scotty was in the running for the mobo-cruiser in the other contest, the bike that he has test-driven is a Sun EZ-3 recumbent tricycle, which starts at $1,000 and may require some retrofitting, Hal Honeymoon of Project Mobility said.