Special needs children get modified bicycles at Beaumont Bike Day

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Getting your first bike can be a monumental milestone. But for some children with challenges a bike ride can seem to be impossible.

Thanks to a special program, never say never. It is one of our favorite days to share with you for children with special needs riding a bike can be an impossible challenge.

Thanks to a unique program, metro Detroit kids are realizing their dreams of riding a bike.

Wednesday provided quite a moment for little Mila Sikes. The 2-year-old is riding her own bike for the first time.

She was born four months premature at only one pound, 10 ounces. Because of so many challenges, Mila needs a custom ride. That’s what she's getting at Beaumont Children's Bike Day.

"Seeing all this and the modifications that they do to these bikes, for the kids to actually be able to ride a bike, it’s kind of a basic thing all kids love to do, so I'm over the moon about it, to be honest," said Paul Sikes.

Six-year-old Abby, who has cerebral palsy, autism and epilepsy, is just now learning to stand. And her mom believes her custom bike is helping.
"The great thing about this whole program is that they assume she's able to do this,” Andrea Malik said. "There's so many things where she has to prove that she's ready, where with other kids it’s just assumed they get to do.

"So this is one of those things where they made a bike that works for her and it grows with her, she gets to do something every other kid gets to do too."

When kids with disabilities need special bikes they can cost thousands of dollars. Beaumont Children's Bike Day covers the cost for the families because the benefits are priceless.

"A lot of bikes are not covered by insurance," said Wendy Nicholls, a physical therapist assistant. "It's considered something fun. However, they get leg strength. We put kids on bikes that are not walking, very young; we need to get their muscle mass strong enough to hold their physical mass.

"Some of them are way too weak. so their legs get stronger, their core strength gets stronger, head control, they have to have hand grasps, some of them can't hang on to the handle bars."

The program is mostly funded by Children's Miracle Network, which relies on your donations all year long. For the past 13 years hundreds of kids have been delighted with a new bike.

To make this day happen, it takes a team of medical and mobility experts.

"We build the bike out for them specifically, with different accessories," said Jack Bellware, former president of Ambucs. "We're able to put different wheels, different seats, rear steering, all kinds of adaptive accessories, so each bike is built for that child."

Watch as 10-year-old Devin is carried by his dad to his new bike. Because of a neuromuscular disorder he can't walk yet, but thanks to Bike Day, he can ride - which is exactly why this program was started.

"The reason I started bike day was because he was told he could never ride a bike," said Nicholls. "And you know, never say never, right?"

Once kids outgrow a bike, it is then modified for another child. To help fund Bike Day, you can contribute to Children's Miracle Network all year long.