‘A chance to be a kid’
Two Newark kids receive adaptive bikes
Whenever 5-year-old Meredith Beavers’ parents take her to a store that sells bicycles, she runs over to check out the bikes, wishing she could take one home.
However, Meredith has cerebral palsy, making it too difficult to ride a bike like other kids, her mother, Lisa, said.
Until, that is, she received an early Christmas present from Preston’s March for Energy, a local nonprofit that gives custom-made adaptive bicycles to kids with disabilities. Meredith beamed last Friday night as she received the bike during a surprise presentation at Fusion Fitness, which donated the money for the bike.
“We’ll never be able to get her off of it now,” Lisa said as Meredith pedaled around the gym in Market East Plaza.
Meredith was one of two kids who received a bike last week, with a third, yet-to-beselected child to receive one later.
Fusion members raised $5,500 with a three-week fitness competition, owner Nic DeCaire said. A total of 89 people formed four teams and competed in a variety of challenges, which culminated in a scavenger hunt through downtown Newark.
“We really saw people get into it,” DeCaire said. “It’s bringing people together and keeping them active during the holidays.”
DeCaire and his gym members are no strangers to donating bikes to deserving kids, having raised enough money to buy 20 bikes over the past three years. The most recent effort, though, was particularly moving because the presentation happened just three days before Christmas.
“What better gift than kids getting a bike for the holidays?” DeCaire said.
Deb Buenaga, whose teenage son, Preston, has mitochondrial disease, started Preston’s March for Energy in 2011 after receiving donations to buy Preston his own adaptive bike. She said the bike gave Preston a sense of independence and freedom and he enjoyed it so much he refused to get off.
She and her husband quickly decided they needed to pay it forward. Over the last six years, Preston’s March for Energy has given away more than 250 adaptive bikes to children across the country.
The other recipient last week was 7-year-old Mason Read, who has schizencephaly, which gives him low muscle tone and makes it hard for him to control his movements. The adaptive bike includes straps to keep him upright and a push bar that his parents can use to help him get around on the bike.
“This gives him a new freedom,” dad, T.J. Read, said. “This is the best present. It’s going to be hard to top this.”
“It gives him a chance to be a kid,” mom Lindsey Seivert added.
Fusion Fitness members who helped raise money for two adaptive bikes pose with recipients Mason Read and Meredith Beavers.