Like most little boys, six-year-old Maddox Klossner loves being outside and in constant motion.
Maddox has cerebral palsy as well as a form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome; both conditions were acquired when he suffered bilateral strokes before birth. He is non-verbal, but smiles and laughs during fun outdoor activities.
Maddox’s parents were able to buy a special running chair, courtesy of a fundraiser held by the Jason Luther family, but they haven’t been able to afford a special adaptive bike.
The bike that Maddox needed retails for $5,500, making it cost prohibitive for the majority of families.
So they were thrilled when they heard the news that Maddox would get a bike through the Friendship Circle Great Bike Giveaway. This special bike has a modified wheelchair in the front that Maddox can sit in, coupled with a traditional bike seat in the back where another person can sit and pedal. Community members voted for Maddox to get the bike, and the Klossner’s feel very blessed to have such great hometown support.
Every child can recall their first experience learning to ride a bike–and the exhilaration and confidence you felt knowing you were mastering it on your own, without help from mom or dad or without training wheels.
Friendship Circle believes every child deserves to experience the thrill of riding a bike, regardless of their abilities.
Adaptive bikes provide independence and exercise, and most importantly, kids like Maddox get the chance to be included in bike rides with friends and family. The Great Bike Giveaway was started by Friendship Circle of Michigan in 2012 and has grown each year. By the end of 2016, they hope to give away 600 adaptive bikes.
Maddox couldn’t wait for his kindergarten classmates at Columbus Elementary School to find out about his new bike.
Maddox has a full-time assistant who works with him during the school day, and despite his cerebral palsy and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, he’s able to communicate with his family and caregivers by tapping his head on their hands when they ask him a question. Maddox is also learning to communicate with an iPad enabled system that has a button mounted to his wheelchair, and his parents are excited about the technology to help him.
Even though he can’t verbally communicate, Maddox understands a lot; there’s a lot going on inside his mind. He has a good sense of when to laugh, too. And he loves his six-month-old baby sister Eden; when he hears her make noises, he looks for her to make sure she is OK. They often lay on the floor jabbering and laughing at each other, and the Klossner’s think their interaction is pretty amazing.
The Klossner’s usually have to split up for family outings–one parent goes with Maddox, while one stays with baby Eden. They are loving that all four of them are now able to go on family bike rides together.