Five-year-old Willow Clark loves getting outside and exploring.
“She loves that independence and that freedom,” says Willow’s mom Lorelei.
However the young girl has a rare genetic syndrome called DDX3X, a disease that mainly affects girls. Conditions vary, some children are able to speak, while others like Willow are non-verbal but can move around more freely.
It’s why she can ride adaptive bicycles.
“She is mobile and she can walk but it is pretty limited and she’s not that stable all the time,” says Lorelei.
“But when she’s on her bike she feels secure, she’s so happy and she’s in control for once.”
With Willow quickly outgrowing the adaptive bikes given to her, Lorelei and her husband Craig were left wondering how they could find a replacement. That’s when Lorelei came across the Great Bike Giveaway.
“You got to register and choose what kind of bike you wanted to win and then sort of campaign online and hope people voted for you,” says Lorelei.
After getting the word out on CHEK last month the donations and votes poured in. Unfortunately Willow came second in the voting phase, but because so much money was raised by her family and the Island community Willow was offered her own $10,000 ET2611 Tandem bicycle.
“We never thought that she would be able to get something like this so it’s going to be a game changer for us,” says Lorelei. “It’s going to be the best summer riding.”
“It’s put a smile on my daughter’s face which is something I haven’t really seen a lot of since this poor little girl has been born,” says Willow’s grandfather Rod Sauder. “It’s really been a struggle for my daughter and it’s nice to see her happy and be able to do something with Willow.”
The family expects to take delivery of the custom built bicycle by the end of May.
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