12-Year-Old With Cerebral Palsy Rides Bike For First Time Thanks To Tulsa Non-Profit
TULSA - Riding a bike is a big part of everyone’s childhood, but for 12-year-old William Baker, he never got the opportunity to experience this simple joy, until now.
"A bike means freedom, a bike, a bike means independence, a bike means happiness for a typical kid," said mother Ana Santiago.
For William, straight A’s and AP classes come easy, but his mom said riding a bike on his own was never in the cards.
"He has cerebral palsy and he’s spastic quadriplegic, and that means all four quadrants of his body are affected by tight weak muscles," said Santiago.
Santiago said William has had to rely on walking for exercise.
Nine months ago, William was selected to receive a special custom bike through the non-profit Cycle for Life. Toja Carrigg, Tulsa Downtown Lion's Club has been working with the organization to get the bike to William.
"Working through them they have a mission to provide custom bicycles for people who have special needs in terms of bicycling design, and then to help them be active through life," said Carrigg.
Custom bikes can run up thousands of dollars, but for William and his family, it didn't cost them a dime.
"So, a custom product like this for a disable person is out of reach for most people, and I think this is the greatest gift this has ever been given," said Santiago.
It was a team effort. Bicycles of Tulsa built the bike and The Downtown Tulsa Lion's Club presented it to William.
"Most of us have ridden our bikes but we are not sure if William ever has, at least not under his own power. So, to see him doing that today, it gives us all goosebumps."
William was quick to hop on and try out his new wheels with a smile that stretched miles.
"I'm happy, yes very happy," William told News on 6.
The Tulsa Downtown Lion's Club said they want to continue to work with Cycle for Life in hopes to give out many more bikes in the future.