COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Meet Rillen Redleaf.
“He has defied all the odds of what doctors thought he would be able to do. He’s learned to walk, he’s in school, he’s a funny little guy and continues to make progress constantly,” said Michelle Morris, Rillen’s mother.
Rillen is a twin and was born at just 23 weeks.
His brother passed away after 6 days and now at 7-years-old, Rillen is a determined and compassionate kid.
“We have a great support system. His dad is definitely involved and he’s an amazing father. So, anytime I’m having a bad day, I just look at what Rillen’s going through and say, ‘I got this,'” Morris said.
Rillen was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, autism chronic lung disease, and epilepsy, which can make riding a bike on his own difficult.
“Balance challenges are one of the reasons people run into this campaign, not enough you know, ability to us their legs in order to pedal hard enough,” said Tzvi Schectman, special projects coordinator of Friendship Circle of Michigan.
Rillen and his mother are trying to raise money for an adaptive bike through the Great Bike Giveaway, an annual campaign that provides adaptive bikes to special needs children across the country.
It’s been running for 6 years now and nearly 1,000 bikes have been given out.
“Growing up, we all have the opportunity to get on a bike and ride it. And when you have a bike to ride it provides a sense of belonging, you’re able to ride with friends and family members and you know, gives you that sense of independence,” Schectman said.
Morris says it’ll be more that just a fun time.
“It will allow him to sit in the front and we can attach his shoes to the actual pedals so that it gives him that workout, that physical therapy workout of actually pretending to pedal the bike where I get to sit behind him and actually steer for safety,” Morris said.
Adaptive bikes can costs thousands of dollars.
The bike Rillen is hoping to get costs $5,400.If you would like to help Rillen reach his goal, you can click here to donate.
The fundraiser ends on March 15.