When we moved to Phoenix a year and a half ago, I met a wonderful woman named Laura. She and my Aunt Linda went to nursing school together and she just happens to live here in Phoenix and has a 14 year old son with William's Syndrome. Knowing no one when we moved out here, it was a huge blessing to be able to connect with someone who not only knew my family, but knows what life is like when you are raising a child with special needs. Although we live on opposite sides of town, Laura and I have become good friends and I feel so lucky to have her in my life. She has helped me and encouraged me more than she probably realizes.
Last year, Laura took on the enormous task of bringing an amazing program to Arizona called "Lose the Training Wheels". She worked so hard and raised a ton of money to be able to provide this camp to children with disabilities in the Phoenix area. They spent a week last winter with these children and taught them how to ride two wheelers using a progression of adaptive bikes.
To you and me, this may seem like no big deal. But it is a huge deal to the majority of children with a disability. 90% of people with Down Syndrome and 80% of people with Autism never learn to ride a bike. But this program can and does make it happen - usually in under a week! This simple skill allows our kids to feel like and fit in with their peers. It helps improve their confidence and independence in a very short period of time. It's one of those simple things that so often gets overlooked in a child with a disability. But the rewards when you take the time to focus on that skill are immeasurable.
Laura is bringing the camp back to Arizona again this winter. It is a lot of work for her, but it is so rewarding when the kids that come to the camp accomplish that goal of riding a bike.
She still needs help though. If you can give anything to help make a child's dream come true, I know she and those kids would be forever grateful. You WILL BE making a difference - please help if you can! (If you choose to donate through these links - be sure to specify that your donation should go to LTTW-AZ)
Here is a better link for donations (sorry, I couldn't get it to work when I posted this last night) - 2011 Team Nicolas.
We still need to raise $15,000 in less than two months - any amount helps!