Program provides bikes for disabled

Published 2:20 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Montgomery-based organization is spreading small miracles through a few counties in lower Alabama.

Leanne Cornwell, president of AMBUCS, spoke at the Civitan meeting Monday about specially made bikes for children and adults with disabilities.

The AmTryke is a therapeutic tricycle made specially to create better motion and mobility for those who may have special needs or disabilities.

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After seeing the bikes at Baptist East, Cornwell started raising money and purchasing specially made bicycles.

The first bike purchased by Cornwell went to a 4-year-old girl with Cerebral palsy who is now 7 and riding a two-wheel bicycle without training wheels.

“The first time I met her at the therapy center, her hand was so tight against her chest she could not move it and she was walking with a limp,” Cornwell said. “Every time you would pull her hand away, it would go straight back.”

The bikes are made with a hand crank for children that have the motor skill problems with their arms, Cornwell said. The bike also allows for feet to be tied in with Velcro as well as a supportive back and neck rests for the rider.

The bicycles are not covered by health insurance and can range from $300 to $1,250. With the adjustments on each bicycle, an individual can stay on a bike for an average of three or four years, Cornwell said.

“When a child outgrows these bikes, they have signed a paper saying that they will turn them back into us,” Cornwell said. “Once they turn them back into us, they can get another bike. They will not go on the end of the waiting list. They will go at the beginning because their bike will be turned in for another child. We want to keep these kids on the bikes as long as they need to be. “

The only way to receive a bicycle is with a doctor’s prescription and a therapist has to fit each person to a bicycle.

All donations that Cornwell receives go toward purchasing the bicycles for more riders.