TROY — A shiny new AmTryke was presented by Kiwanis Club of Troy to a Tipp City girl.
Leah Hatton, 6, received the AmTryke at the club’s recent regular meeting. In attendance with Leah were her father and mother, Steve and Lisa Hatton, and her sisters, Faith and Haley.
“We want to do what we can to help a child and her family in our community to obtain one of these tricycles,” Kiwanis Club President Frank Stewart said. “We’re presenting this AmTryke to Leah with the hope that it assists with her development and allows her to enjoy her time outdoors even more.”
Presenting the AmTryke was Dr. Faye McNerney of MiamiBucs, the Miami County chapter of the national Ambucs organization. McNerney gave a brief history of the organization and what the Miami County chapter is doing for residents.
“In the 1990s, there was a physical therapist named Sue Haywood,” McNerney explained. “She had a large tricycle that she kept loaning out to her patients. Everybody really enjoyed it, so she went to the local organization, and asked for help to make trikes to fit her kids. They were so excited, they started helping her and designing trikes.
“This went to the national chapter of Ambucs in 1995, and they decided to start that as their national project, which became known as AmTrykes.”
The Miamibucs mission is to provide therapeutic tricycles to Miami County residents who have disabilities and cannot ride a typical trike. So far, Miamibucs have distributed 36 AmTrykes to people in need.
“Our goal for a resident with an AmTryke is to increase their mobility, their strength, and their endurance,” McNerney said. “It gives them a form of exercise that is fun, allows them to have more interaction with family and friends, and improves their self-confidence.”
Leah’s physical therapists sponsored her for an AmTryke, and she was quickly approved after her needs were evaluated. Leah’s AmTryke came with custom straps, a helmet, and various accessories.
“Between doctors, therapists, and neurologists, the common theme we’ve heard the most is to keep her active, physically and mentally,” Steve said. “She doesn’t walk, but she does crawl. Getting those legs moving by strapping them into the pedals, it’s her natural instinct to push. It’s going to keep her stimulated physically, and any resistance she creates with those muscles will only make her stronger.”
Leah, who suffers from Rett Syndrome, was one of eight girls in Ohio who underwent special drug trials in 2017 for her disorder.
“For those unfamiliar with Rett Syndrome, it’s a genetic disorder with severe neurological complications,” Steve said. “Sufferers develop totally fine for the first 18-24 months, but then they start losing some of the skills they gained from that age. It only affects about one out of every 10,000-15,000 girls worldwide every year. With boys, it’s about one out of a million. She may eventually regress from where she is now. The good news is there has been success at reversal in the lab, and we’re hoping in her lifetime, they’ll find ways to reverse the effects of the syndrome.”
More than anything, Leah’s family looks forward to including her more extensively in warm-weather activities.
“The biggest thing for us is that her older siblings have always had bikes and were able to ride them,” Steve said. “Leah hasn’t until now, so this is huge. It’ll allow her to ride outdoors with the whole family.”
Leah’s family are grateful to Kiwanis Club of Troy for their generous donations, which made her AmTryke possible.
“We’re very excited and can’t thank Kiwanis enough,” Steve said. “This whole thing is just tremendous.”
For more information on AmTrykes, visit www.amtrykestore.org.
For more information on Ambucs, visit www.ambucs.org, or visit Miamibucs on Facebook.
Learn more about Kiwanis Club of Troy at www.kiwaniscluboftroy.com, or visit them on Facebook.