Corewell Health is the new name for Beaumont.

5/9/2023 8:09:19 PM Reporting from Detroit,MI
More than 100 children with special needs fit for adaptive bicycles as part of Beaumont Children’s 2023 Bike Day
https://www.beaumont.org/health-wellness/press-releases/more-than-100-children-with-special-needs-fit-for-adaptive-bicycles
5/9/2023 8:09:19 PM
Each year, Corewell Health’s Center for Children’s Rehabilitation identifies children to be fitted for and receive a no-cost custom, adaptive bicycle.

More than 100 children with special needs fit for adaptive bicycles as part of Beaumont Children’s 2023 Bike

Each year, Corewell Health’s Center for Children’s Rehabilitation identifies children to be fitted for and receive a no-cost custom, adaptive bicycle.
Beaumont Health

More than 100 children with special needs fit for adaptive bicycles as part of Beaumont Children’s 2023 Bike Day

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

For many people, riding a bike means blue skies, summer days and special moments with family and friends. Riding a bike also means freedom.

This couldn’t be truer for the 102 children with special needs taking part in this year’s Beaumont Children’s Bike Day, May 6. Each year, Corewell Health’s Center for Children’s Rehabilitation identifies children to be fitted for and receive a no-cost custom, adaptive bicycle.

These bicycles are not available at local bike shops or big box retailers and range in price from $1,300 to $5,000. Some are even pedaled by hand.

Titan Driscoll, 3, of Oak Park, is among those who will be fitted this year. At birth, he was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal syndrome, Mosaic trisomy 9, which affects growth and developmental milestones such as crawling and walking.

“The day after Titan was born, a doctor handed me a pamphlet and told me these children often didn’t make it to the end of their first week. I cried,” said Mom, Denise Driscoll.

“But then I started seeing what a happy kid Titan was. I felt special and blessed – like God handpicked us to be Titan’s parents,” Denise said. “Titan is our superhero.”

Denise said Titan’s face lights up when they pull into the parking lot of the rehab center and he smiles and gravitates toward his therapists Ryan and Michelle.

Riding his bicycle, however, brings him a whole other level of joy and improves his self-esteem.

“When Titan sees the other kids riding, he wants that for himself,” Mom Denise explained. “We push him on his bike – but he also uses his own little muscles. Being on his bike makes him feel independent and proud.”

Since Titan’s already outgrown the bicycle he received last year, this year, vendors will adjust and customize his bicycle to accommodate his growth.

Adrienne Akers, 10, of Chesterfield Township, who battles a seizure disorder and several other disabilities is being fitted this year for her second bike.

“She smiles and laughs when she’s riding,” said mom, Kristine Akers, adding that Adrienne loves riding in the neighborhood with her sister. “Her bicycle gives her a chance to get out of her wheelchair. You can see the mood change right away; that bike makes her a very happy girl.”

Like her peers, the benefits of riding her adaptive bike are also physical. Before receiving brain surgery last August, Adrienne experienced hundreds of seizures each day. Fortunately, those significantly subsided since the surgery. Adrienne is still working to regain lost muscle tone.

Riding her bicycle is a relaxed and natural way to do that, mom said.

“Going to physical therapy and working with the therapists is very beneficial,” Kristine said. “But Adrienne’s been in and out of hospitals so much, therapy still feels like a clinical experience. Riding her bike on the street with other kids – that’s fun. It’s freedom. Without this program, we wouldn’t be able to give her the kind of bicycle she needs. We’re so grateful she’s able to go outside and ride her bike just like every other kid.”

According to Ryan Barto, Bike Day coordinator, and senior pediatric occupational therapist at Corewell Health’s Center for Pediatric Rehabilitation, “It’s so inspiring to see the kids we work with in clinic every day smiling big, enjoying life and making progress they and their families may have never thought possible.

“I would also to like mention that each year, the Bike Day program is hosted and coordinated by therapists and support staff who volunteer their time to make this event happen,” Barto said. “It started as a volunteer effort back in 2004, and still is to this day.”

At a cost of $200,000, this year’s Bike Day is made possible through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the Corewell Health Foundation - Southeast Michigan, the new name for the Beaumont Health Foundation, Extra Life, which donated $100,000, and Delta Airlines, which donated $50,000, Jay Feldman and other generous sponsors. In addition, Tubby's Sub Shops is donating 100 meals this year for Bike Day volunteers.

According to Charlotte Alex, director of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals at Beaumont Children's, Bike Day is among the most instantly gratifying programs she works on all year.

“We can see the results, the happy faces on the children and their parents, right away, in real time,” Alex said. “Nothing beats witnessing that genuine emotion and gratitude. And none of this would be possible without the support of the vendors who share their time and expertise, our many caring volunteers and our generous sponsors.”

Participants are selected according to need and wait time. Each must have a prescription and be referred by their physician.

Visit Bike Day for more information.