What do you do when your soon to be six year old asks for a tricycle seventeen days before her birthday? Run out to Wal-Mart, Academy, or Target and buy the first cute girly bike that catches your eye, right?
In our case that request came from Caleigh just a few weeks before her birthday this year. With the iPad and Proloquo2Go Caleigh has been able to tell us exactly what she wants in terms of gifts for several years now. I didn't think to sit down and ask her earlier about her wants for her birthday. When I did, I thought she would ask for more baby dolls and clothes which are her favorites right now. With the updated Proloquo2Go app, Caleigh has access to much more vocabulary than she did before. She went right to tricycle. I had no clue what I was going to do.
We sat there talking about how Mommy and Daddy can't just go to the store to buy her a bike. How a regular bicycle wouldn't work for her. We went back and forth about the whys and each time her reply was "please."
Insert my heart breaking into pieces.
The next morning I woke up on a mission. I was going to get Caleigh that tricycle somehow. She's pretty spoiled rotten after all. There are basically two special needs bike companies. AmTryke and Freedom Concepts. Caleigh had tried out the Freedom Concepts bike about two years ago at the Abilities Expo. So I started there. I contacted the same rep we had met previously, and talked to him about funding and bike options. Since a tricycle no matter how therapeutic, isn't covered by insurance; he suggested that we apply for funding through Variety Children's Charity. I quickly contacted them, asked our wonderful therapists to help out, filled out their large packet and submitted it as quickly as I could.
The next submission meeting was scheduled for Caleigh's actual birthday. So we sat Caleigh down and told her that she would have to wait for her tricycle. Good things come to those who wait and such. She was alright with it. For her birthday we got her bike accessories to keep up the excitement. Horns, bells, bike lock and a helmet. It was a good birthday filled with anticipation.
We got word when we returned from Caleigh's birthday trip that her bicycle was approved. All $3800 of it. All we needed to pick out was a color. I went with purple and then kept it a secret.
Caleigh receiving her tricycle landed right around Variety's yearly gala. We were asked to come to the event, speak and then let Caleigh take her new wheels home.
In all honesty, it was a super long night. It took us two hours just to get there. There was a 2 hour delay in everything getting started. I hadn't eaten, had a glass a wine and by the time we stepped up to accept Caleigh's tricycle I had lost my words, mumbled something, there was clapping and then we exited the stage. Good times and pretty embarrassing.
Oh the things we do for our children....
We met some of the sweet people that approved Caleigh's application. They got to see her using her iPad, and they told me that they would be more open to approving such requests now that they have seen that it really works. I thought that was a nice bonus to the whole evening.
We couldn't just run out to the box store and buy Caleigh a purple tricycle. These caring people and their donors have given Caleigh that gift and for that we are extremely grateful.
We left pretty quickly after my fumbled attempt at a storied thank you, and made it home around 10:30 that night. Luckily the new van held the large tricycle wonderfully. There's no way it would have fit in any other vehicle we've had. Just another blessing.
Up next .... Caleigh's maiden ride on her brand new purple tricycle.
Trust me, it won't disappoint.