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Charity helps 7 year old Rhys, from Bexley, ride a bike for the first time

PUBLISHED: 16:57 15 January 2018

Rhys is now able to join his brother and friends on bike rides. Picture: Children Today

Rhys is now able to join his brother and friends on bike rides. Picture: Children Today

Archant

A young boy with a rare neurological condition has been given the chance to ride his own bike for the first time, after a children’s charity provided funding for his own specialised trike.

Children Today stepped in to help Rhys, seven, who lives in Bexley, and was born with Sturge Weber Syndrome.

Rhys has had to undergo a number of brain operations, and as a result of his epileptic seizures and the side effects of the operations, he also has hemiplegia.

This means he has no motor function in his left hand and severely limited use of his left leg.

Rhys has a much higher risk of falls than other children, combined with significantly reduced balance, which meant he was unable to safely ride a regular bike.

Adaptations on the specialised trike include a mitten so that Rhys can hold the handlebar with his left hand, as well as foot plates and a belt.

Rhys’s Occupational Therapist recommended the trike to help give Rhys the ability to exercise, increase his independence and improve his social interaction.

Carly, Rhys’s mother, said: “The trike cost over £1000, which would have been a huge ask for me but after seeing Rhys’s reaction when he first tried the trike I knew that by hook or crook we would have to find some way of funding it.”

Carly applied to Children Today for funding, and was delighted when the charity provided a grant for the full amount of £1300.

Carly added: “This experience has made a huge difference to our family.

Before he had his trike, Rhys had to be in his buggy to go to school, now Rhys rides his trike to school at least once a week so he feels so much more grown up.”

The new bike has also allowed Rhys to able to mix more with his friends and ride together with his brother.

She added: “Rhys is such an energetic and loving boy who has shown such strength and determination throughout his life already so it’s amazing that he’s been able to enjoy the freedom of being able to cycle independently.”

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