Just in time for Easter, Scott Curtiss, 15, who has autism, picked up his cherry red Sun EZ-3 adaptive bike last Saturday, thanks to the wonderful readers of Patch and Southtown-Star.
Knowing that Scott’s parents, Scott and Mikey, would have to dip into a trust fund they set up for their son’s future care to buy him the expensive bike, family friend Lynn Church contacted Hal Honeymoon of Project Mobility in St. Charles to see if he couldn’t help Scott get his own adaptive bike.
Scott has no center of balance and is unable to ride a regular bicycle. Honeyman made it possible for readers to send in donations for Scott’s new ride, which cost $1,000.
Community High School Dist. 218 also helped get the word out to students and their families, where the Oak Lawn teen is enrolled in Shepard High School’s autism program.
Now, Scott’s family wants to “pay it forward.” The Curtiss family has set up a progressive online fund on GoFundMe that will help other youths from the Oak Lawn Park District’s special recreation program acquire adaptive bikes from Project Mobility. So far $5,788 toward their goal of $9,000 has been raised.
Honeyman, the founder of Project Mobility, became interested in adaptive cycling when his own son, Jacob, was born with cerebral palsy. He said it’s hard for parents to keep up with their special needs' children’s medical, educational and recreational costs.
“We made too much income to qualify for anything, and not enough to keep up,” Honeyman said of his own family’s situation.
Next in line in the progressive bike fund Josh Carroll, 18, of Burbank, who has cerebral palsy and seizure disorder. Josh attends Reavis High School, where he was recently inducted into the National Honor Society.
Due to Josh’s cerebral palsy, he is unable to balance probably and use his left arm and leg adequately to ride two-wheeler.
Mikey Curtiss said that after children in the the park district’s special recreation program get bikes, she wants to start working on getting adaptive rides for Scott’s classmates at Shepard High School. The progressive fund will continue until all the youths that want one, have adaptive bikes.
Scott now has a riding buddy, his friend Anthony Tabascio, 17, who has been measured for hand-pedaled Cat Tran through Project Mobility. An anonymous donor picked up the costs for Anthony’s bike after reading Donna Vickroy’s moving story, “Every Kid Should Have A Bike,” in Southtown-Star. (Thank-you, Ms. Vickroy.)
For Anthony’s mom, Karen Tabascio, watching her son master his hand-pedaled Cat Tran was a thrill.
“It took him a little while to get going but once he did he didn’t want to get off,” Karen said. “To see a 17-year-old kid ride a bike for the first time, well, you can’t put a price on that.”