11 year-old Cody – affectionately nicknamed ‘Cody Bear’ – and his family have been blessed with a summer of outdoor fun thanks to the help of Chester-based children’s disability charity, Children Today Charitable Trust.
Cody Thomas, from Ellesmere Port, has multiple conditions including Autism, Epilepsy, Global Development Delay (GDD) and ADHD.
His mum, Alisha Thomas, explains:
“We first realised there was something different with Cody at about 10-months-old. He had been hitting some of his physical milestones, but he wasn’t babbling and chatting the way most babies do, and at two-years-old he was diagnosed with Global Development Delay. Since then we’ve also found out he has Epilepsy, Autism and ADHD.
“As a family we love cycling, but obviously our Cody Bear can’t ride a regular bike as it wouldn’t be safe for him. Not only is he at risk of having a seizure, but he has the mental age of a three-year-old, so has little danger awareness.
“Cody is an absolute whirlwind and has so much energy, so it can be a challenge to keep him busy and entertained at home. He loves the outdoors and is never happier than when he’s out and about, exploring. We call him our ‘Curious George’ after the cartoon character!”
Cody’s family reached out to Children Today for support, and the charity was able to help provide an adapted trike, meaning he can finally join his younger brother, Logan, and the rest of his family on bike rides.
“When we looked into getting an adapted trike, it was ridiculously expensive. So we were incredibly grateful that Children Today was able to help. Having the trike has made a huge difference to us as a family. Simply being able to all go out on bike rides together is a major thing for us and watching him being able to play with his brother, Logan, is just amazing.
“The first week we got the trike we went to a local park, and for the first time ever we were able to just sit back and watch Cody play with Logan and his cousins, knowing he was safe. Usually we have to carefully supervise his every move, so seeing him have the freedom to play and be more independent was a very emotional moment.”
Cody’s trike has special adaptations including rear-steering control and brakes, which allows his parents and brother to help direct and stop Cody if needed. It also has a lap belt, harness and padding meaning if Cody has a seizure whilst on the trike he can’t injure himself.
Cody’s dad, Ste Thomas, says:
“It might seem extravagant, but unfortunately buying an ‘off the shelf’ bike isn’t an option for Cody, and we were desperate for him to be able to enjoy something we know he loves.
“The trike can actually be adapted to grow with him, so it will last him well into adulthood and, crucially, it breaks down easily into smaller parts, so we can take it further afield. I can also attach it to my own bike for longer bike rides, but he’s still able to pedal and get exercise.”
The trike has given Cody and his family the opportunity to experience a summer full of outdoor adventures together.
“Cody’s journey has been a difficult one. Not only does he have to contend with the various symptoms of his conditions, but we’ve been on a roller-coaster trying to get the balance of his medication right.
“He’s had some horrible reactions and side-effects to the medication, which have sent him backwards with his speech and development. Just when you think things are starting to get easier, it feels like you take ten steps backward. But we feel incredibly lucky because he’s such a happy-go-lucky boy. He’s cheeky, wild and lively but we wouldn’t have him any other way!”