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Custom-Fit Bicycles Improving Lives Of Children

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
Custom-Fit Bicycles Improving Lives Of Children

Five year-old Camden Kanclerz of Livonia has endured nine brain surgeries in his short lifetime. Yet, with all he has gone through, he still wishes to ride a bike like the rest of the children in his neighborhood.

Thanks to the Beaumont Children's Hospital Pediatric Rehabilitation Program's "Bike Day," Camden's wish of riding with the other children has finally been granted.

Each year, the Pediatric Rehabilitation Program, in partnership with the Beaumont Foundation and Children's Miracle Network, brightens the lives of children who are living with a disability by giving them a custom bike that meets their specialized needs. "Bike Day," as it is affectionately called, gives children with special needs a way to live their lives as enjoyably as possible.

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"Beaumont saved Camden's life," says Kelley Kanclerz, Camden's mother. Fund raising efforts for Bike Day are ongoing, as each year there are increasingly more children who apply for a customized bike. The program is always seeking contributions, as it relies heavily on the donations and goodwill of the community. Oakland Mall donated $8,500 this year from sales of butterfly kits during a butterfly exhibit held at the shopping center.

"These unique bikes help each child. The physical benefits include building endurance and muscle strength and improving disassociation of both upper and lower extremities," says Wendy Nicholls, a Beaumont physical therapy assistant and coordinator of the annual Bike Day event. "Psychosocial benefits include participating in an age-appropriate, skill activity with their peers as well as being included in a great family activity."

Bikes customized for children living with a disability cannot be found at local bike shops or big box retailers. Depending on specific needs, bikes are modified or customized for each child. Some are even pedaled by hand.

Needless to say, bicycles for children with special needs can be expensive. These special bikes can cost from $1,300 to $3,000, and in some cases can cost as much as $6,000. Consequently, many families cannot afford to purchase the custom bikes by themselves.

To be considered for the program, children must have a prescription and be referred by their physical or occupational therapist or doctor. Those who are current or past patients of Beaumont are given first priority.