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Kids with disabilities get rolling with Wheels to Succeed

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BATON ROUGE - 56 kids with disabilities are on a waiting list for adapted bikes through the Wheels to Succeed program.

Physical therapists at the McMains Children's Development Center say it is a fun way to get kids to want to do therapy, but the bikes can be expensive. Local cyclists are riding this weekend to help kids experience this childhood rite of passage.

Five-year-old Henry was born with Cerebral Palsy. He is mostly confined to his wheelchair, but since becoming the 106th bike recipient from Wheels to Succeed, he pedals everyday.

His therapists at McMains say what looks like playtime, is actually getting him through some of the hardest part of his treatment: training his legs to walk.

"Some of the children have trouble when they're walking because both legs want to do the same thing," Mandy Langlois told News 2's Rebecca Buchanan. "They're both straight, and they're both bent. They have trouble separating their legs, so the biking helps encourage one leg at a time..."

Riding the bike also helps Henry get his heart rate up to improve his stamina. That is a lot harder to do when he is in his wheelchair. The bike also has more than just physical benefits.

"It gives a sense of inclusion for them, when it's hard to find things for them to do," Langlois explained this morning on 2une In. "Being able to explore on a bike, that also helps with cognition and language because they talk more when they're exploring things."

The bikes come with a hefty price tag. They can cost up to $6,000. That is why local cyclists joined PT's at McMain's to raise money so call kids can have this experience.

"A bike's given to them, but they can (only) use that for a certain amount of time," McMains Board Member Sebastian Alvarez says. "They can bring that back, (and) get outfitted for another one, so we still kind of keep tabs on the bikes and keep them rotating through the community."

The biggest fundraiser for Wheels to Succeed is this weekend. The "No Such Thing as Impossible" bike ride and kids fun ride is Sunday, March 8th from 8 a.m.- Noon at West Feliciana Sports Park.

There is a 75 mile, 40 mile, and 10 mile ride for adults at a cost of $50.00. Kids of all abilities can participate in the 1 mile fun ride.

Watch this video to learn more about Henry's inspirational story.

 

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