One of my students has the biggest smile you have ever seen on a five year old. If you were to walk into my room his smile would be the first thing you notice. He also has significant physical disabilities and is confined to a wheelchair. This does not usually stop him from much, and as long as he is in his power wheelchair he will zip around our room with no problem.
This winter he had surgery and had to use a special wheel chair that kept him at an angle to help his body heal. When we went over to visit him at his apartment his cousin told us that he loved his new hospital chair because it was like a bike and he had always wanted a bike. He proudly drove the chair around by pushing the wheels and grinned at us while he showed off his driving skills.
I shared the bike story with one of the teachers on his team. I wasn't even finished describing his smile in his new chair when she said, "You know, there are adaptive bikes out there..." Her voice trailed off as she thought of the possibilities.
The next thing I knew she was sending me emails with links to bikes, asking about how he would use it, and whether or not his mother would accept a gift from an anonymous donor.
Through all this I quickly learned that adaptive bikes are not cheap, nor are they easy to buy. They require a lot of thought, planning and measuring to make sure that they can be used safely by their owner. Still, she investigated, planned, took measurements, and budgeted.
Yesterday the bike came in. It was presented to the family as being from an anonymous donor so they will never know the teacher who made this little one's dream come true. I was sadly at a doctors appointment when my friend got to try out his new bike but I did see a picture and a video. Tears came to my eyes as I looked at the proud and excited boy sitting up so tall on his very own bike- something I am sure he never thought he would own and certainly never thought he would be able to ride independently.
Until yesterday the closest he ever thought he would get to a bike was using an adapted hospital wheelchair. And there he was, proudly peddling down the hall.
I am amazed an in awe at my coworker who made this happen. We have so much else going on- assessments, deadlines, paperwork, and not to mention our teacher salaries that would make it difficult to purchase such a gift for our own children, let alone one of our students. Yesterday her present and determination was literally a miracle for a little boy who had a dream. These are the people that make me proud to work in this profession.