For a kid, a bicycle is the first real thing that provides independence. Christopher, a 15-year-old that struggles with Cerebral Palsy and a rare tumor disorder that takes root in his brain, isn’t able to ride a traditional bike safely. However, after teaming up with Lauren Lichtenauer, the founder of Christopher’s Promise, the program was born and the two have built a longstanding friendship to this day.
Christopher’s Promise is a grassroots organization that aims to navigate families through the grant process of getting an adaptive bicycle. It also works to collaborate a handful of other community resources to make this the ultimate experience. KEEN sponsors the organization by providing the kids with shoes that fit over their ankle braces.
The mother of Grant, one of the children in Christopher’s Promise, had the following to say about the program:
“A few weeks after my son was born, my husband and I began noticing something was a little off. Soon after, Grant was admitted to Children’s Hospital and had his first of many admittances and procedures to determine where the epilepsy seizures started in his brain: EEGs, MRIs, PET scans, among others. He was placed on anti-seizure medications that had varying levels of effectiveness. He also went from having very subtle type of seizures to a much more obvious type. Finally, one of the medicines seemed to help.
Two years later, his seizures returned. After being given all the medications available to control his seizures, the doctors advised that surgery was the best option. At one point, he had a maximum of 84 seizures in one day. He underwent three neurosurgeries within one week on his left frontal lobe. After that, he had intense occupational and physical therapy—five hours a day for three weeks. He is truly our little “Iron Man”! So resilient and strong! Now that he is home from the hospital, he is receiving both occupational therapy and physical therapy two times a week each. His use of his right arm and leg is returning, but he will need to have ongoing OT and PT to help regain the most functionality possible. He is a happy, smart, energetic toddler. He gets frustrated sometimes when he is not able to now do what he used to do with ease because of his right side hemiparesis and resulting muscle weakness. However, he is also a very self-motivated and adaptable boy whom I believe has the determination to adapt to the best of his ability and be more independent. Being able to safely ride a bike on his own can only help him work towards that goal.”