September 1, 2013
Friends and family gathered around today as Troy Haverstrom led his friends on a bike ride around the track at Stone-Robinson Elementary School.
Troy has cerebral palsy and up until now was not able to ride a bike by himself, but thanks to a few crafty sophomore engineering students at James Madison University, his vision of riding alongside his brother is a reality.
"He expressed many times during the build that he wanted to be on a bike like his brother,” says Robert Nagel, engineering professor at JMU. “So we wanted to make the bike feel and look when you are looking at it at a distance that he is on a bike in that way.”
Troy’s bike has two back wheels to help keep him stable as he rides as well as other gears that allow him to move the bike easily.
This is all a part of the Overcoming Barriers project that helps kids with disabilities become more active and independent.
"It gives them the freedom to explore, be independent and to realize that anything is possible,” says Dr. Tom Moran, professor of kinesiology at JMU.
Dr. Moran also has Cerebral Palsy and taught engineering students at JMU to build bikes based on their client's needs.
"Through the mechanism of sport and physical activity we help kids turn what they perceive as barriers into hurdles," says Dr. Moran.
"We were just really blessed that the teachers decided to introduce us to Dr. Moran,” says Lois Haverstrom, Troy’s mother. “It was worth the drive over the mountain every single time to make this happen."
With the new ride, Troy is faster than ever.
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