Dream come true
Horsham boy Ted Johnson is relishing a newfound sense of independence as he rides around town on his new custom-made bike.
The Ss Michael and John’s Primary School student had both legs amputated at birth and has never been able to ride a conventional bicycle.
With a custom-made option, costing $11,000, beyond the financial reach of Ted’s family, his school community organised a ‘Ten4ted’ fundraising campaign in December.
The fundraiser smashed its initial goal, raising more than $15,000 in less than two weeks.
Ted’s mother Abbie Clark said the order for the special bike had been placed shortly before Christmas but took about six months to be built and shipped to Australia. She said Ted had been thrilled when it finally arrived.
“As soon as Ted saw the bike he thought it was amazing,” she said. “It was made in Poland and the company in Melbourne we bought it from was called Melrose Wheelchairs. They were so helpful and they knew what they were talking about – both the guys were in wheelchairs themselves. They knew exactly what we needed.
Ss Michael and John’s Primary School hosts ‘Wheelie Wednesdays’, where students bring bikes, scooters, skateboards, roller skates and other wheeled methods of transport to school.
The school will host another wheelie event on Friday this week.
Ted said the ability to ride with his schoolmates was ‘pretty cool’.
Ms Clark said Ted was still getting the hang of using his new bike.
“Most kids from the age of about three years old have been riding something, but Ted hasn’t, so it’s all about getting used to the idea of riding,” she said.
“Once he gets old enough and more confident he’ll be able to ride to school on his own.”
Ms Clark said she was still in awe of the generosity displayed by Wimmera people to help raise money for Ted’s bike.
“I have to thank the school especially and then all the individuals and businesses across Australia that helped us out,” she said.
“We really don’t know how to thank everybody – it was the most humbling thing.
“We’re trying to make sure we get out and about, so if anyone sees us, give us a wave.”