Updated: Mar 6
I have always been an adamant supporter of physical activity for Olivia. I wanted her to be as active as she possibly could. Whether this meant bouncing in a bouncy seat, playing in a saucer, or swinging in a modified swing, I wanted her to experience the feeling of her body in motion.
One of the best things that happened to us in this regard was getting connected with Ambucs. Through our amazing physical therapist, Rebecca, we were invited to attend the Bike Rodeo in Reno, Nevada many years ago. Olivia was given a super modern, souped-up “tricycle” that allowed her to move in a way that had previously been unavailable to her. It was an amazing experience. The bike was fitted to her precisely, and she was taught how to ride it. All this was made possible by Ambucs.
If you haven’t heard of Ambucs, let me be the first to tell you how great this organization really is. They are a non-profit service organization consisting of a diverse group of men and women who are dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities. I’m not sure how to put into words the amazing work that this organization does. The tryke that Olivia received, donated by a chapter in Oklahoma City, was truly life changing for all of us. Suddenly, we were able to go on family bike rides together, something we were previously afraid to hope for. Olivia was able to experience that unique feeling of independence that bike riding provides, something I think she had previously been afraid to hope for. In addition, the tryke she received was pretty novel, and friends and strangers alike were anxious to talk to her about it and even give it a try themselves. That beautiful, little red tryke gave Olivia the opportunity to not only strengthen her muscles and improve her coordination, but it also gave her confidence and a way to interact positively with peers.
I am so grateful when I think about what an amazing gift this was for Olivia, and for our whole family. Even more amazing is the fact that Ambucs chapters across the country fundraise for and give away about 3,500 Amtrykes each year. This means that just since Olivia received her bike more than eight years ago, another 28,000 children and young adults have had their lives changed because of the generosity of Ambucs members. How incredible is that?! If you think your child might benefit from an Amtryke, here is some information from their website. Basically, there are three ways to get one:
1. The fastest and easiest way is to simply purchase one. Visit www.amtrykestore.org or call us at 800-838-1845 x116. Not everyone needs a charitable intervention and if that’s you, thanks, your purchase will help fund a tryke for a needy child!
2. The second way is to reach out to your local AMBUCS chapter to request help. Please remember that chapter members are all volunteers that do this in their spare time because they’re wonderful people.
3. If there isn’t a chapter close to you or your local chapter is unable to help, your child can go on the National Amtryke Wish List. Every child on the Wish List receives an Amtryke but it can take up to two years. If you are willing to help fundraise, the process goes much quicker.