Funding for adapted trike sees disabled 11-year-old cycle for first time since brain injury!

An eleven-year-old boy, who was a keen cyclist before he suffered a severe brain haemorrhage over three years ago, is now able to ride a bike for the first time since his injury after we provided funding for a specially adapted trike!

Jimmy Stevens, who lives in Exeter, suffered a spontaneous bleed to the brain after a family day out. Despite his family being told there was little chance of survival, Jimmy pulled through but as a result suffered devastating injuries. Severe hemiplegia on his right side meant he was unable to speak, walk, swallow or even support his own head.

After intensive rehabilitation over the past couple of years, including numerous operations, physiotherapy and speech therapy, Jimmy can now walk short distances but still has no use of his right hand and arm so riding a bike ever again looked very unlikely.

Mum Jenni comments: “Since his injury we kept asking Jimmy what he wanted to be able to achieve and he consistently said he would like to learn to ride a bike again. We heard of a charity through the Child Brain Injury Trust that adjusts recumbent trikes to suit different disabilities and they adjusted a trike for Jimmy to try out. I can honestly say that this was the first time I’d seen Jimmy truly happy in a very long time but adapted trikes like that cost thousands of pounds which we couldn’t afford as I’ve had to give up work to care for Jimmy.”

Adaptations on this special trike made by Freetrike Rehab Cycling mean that Jimmy can control the brakes and the steering all with his left hand so he can ride independently, as well as an adjustable head rest to help him sit on it safely and securely.

After Jenni saw Jimmy’s reaction she knew that this trike would be life-changing for him so set about trying to raise the funds needed. Friends and family rallied together raising just under £1000, Jenni then reached out to our charity to see if we could provide a grant for £1000 which, combined with the contributions from friends and family, would cover the cost of the trike. Jenni adds:

“When Children Today told us that they would award Jimmy the funding we needed for the trike we just couldn’t believe it! Jimmy was the first child in the UK to get the KMX Koyote folding trike and it really has made a huge difference to him and our whole family.

“Jimmy isn’t able to cycle from home as he gets tired but as this trike folds up we can put it in the car, drive out somewhere and all go for a bike ride together. Cycling was a big part of our family before his accident, Jimmy’s dad and grandfather are both avid cyclists – in fact we used to say cycling is in the genes! This trike means Jimmy can now go on bike rides with his dad and sisters once again.

“The trike has also had much more of an impact than just making exercise more accessible for him (as he walks with a splint) and helping improve his strength and stamina. Sadly, his self-confidence plummeted after his injury. He was always shy but as his speech started to come back, he found it difficult to communicate. As his trike is so unusual it’s really helping his social interaction as people keep coming up to it to have a look and talk to him about it. He’s a lot better at communicating now and his confidence is growing every week.

“Jimmy has gone through so much in his young life already so we are very grateful that thanks to Children Today he’s been able to cycle once again with this special trike which we thought he would never be able to do again.”

We are incredibly proud to be able to change the lives of children like Jimmy – but as we receive no government or NHS funding we are reliant on voluntary donations to keep providing these grants. To donate now click here

If you know a child or young person that could use our support – find out more about our application process here.

Jimmy’s story was featured on BBC Spotlight on the 2nd February 2018 – you can watch the programme below, with thanks to BBC Spotlight for the footage.