New Mobility Technology for Physically Disabled Children

Physically Disabled children who have arthrogryposis, muscular dystrophy or other conditions that steal their freedom of mobility. Countless reasons account for more than 30 million physically disabled people in the U.S. Meet Gavin, Gavin has a physically debilitating disease called arthrogryposis.

Witness Gavin’s first ride on his customized, recumbent tricycle. Please donate so more disabled children can ride.

          


Please share Gavin’s story.


If you know of a disabled child who would love to ride a tricycle for the first time, please call F.I.T. Foundation Today!

1-973-595-7388


Thank You!


Help Us Give the Gift of Mobility – Donate Today!


 YES! I Want to Help 

OR Call 1-973-595-7388

OR Send Gift to: 

F.I.T. Foundation, 232 Union Boulevard, Totowa, NJ 07512


          

A Tricycle for Gavin (and a Lesson for Us All)



By Patrick Stevens

“This is the story of a courageous young boy named Gavin Ryan. Gavin is 8 years old, and has suffered his whole life from a rare and physically debilitating disease called arthrogryposis . . . much like muscular dystrophy. . . . For many of us, mobility on a bike or tricycle is a rite of childhood passage. For Gavin, it simply wasn’t an option.”

For many of us, mobility on a bicycle becomes about speed, power, agility and adventure. It’s about beating our best times and pedaling through bigger and bigger obstacles. Sometimes, however, it’s a good idea to step off our bicycles and recognize how blessed we truly are to be able to ride them at all.

This is the story of a physically disabled, yet courageous young boy named Gavin Ryan. Gavin is 8 years old, and has suffered his whole life from a rare and physically debilitating disease called arthrogryposis. Arthrogryposis is much like muscular dystrophy, and is characterized by hooked joints, muscle weakness and fibrosis. For many of us, getting on a bike or tricycle is a rite of childhood passage. For Gavin, it simply wasn’t an option.

Due to arthrogryposis, a disability that causes joints and muscular weakness, leaving him unable to experience mobility, like the simple childhood joy of riding a bicycle that most of us take for granted. There was simply no way for him to grip handlebars, press pedals, and sit upright on a conventional bike. As the current cycling market stood, physically disabled children like Gavin would never have the opportunity to go outside, get on a bike of his own, and have the freedom of mobility, to travel wherever his young heart and mind might take him.

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Help Us Give the Gift of Mobility – Donate Today!

 YES! I Want to Help OR Call 1-973-595-7388

OR Send Gift to: F.I.T. Foundation, 232 Union Boulevard, Totowa, NJ 07512

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Custom Trike Built for Physically Disabled Children


At this point in the story is where many physically disabled children and their families might “accept their lot in life” and move on to other things. The Ryans were not one of those families. This young boy’s parents recognized the potential for independence, exercise, and a new found freedom of mobility for their son that a customized bicycle could provide. If one did not exist that he could currently ride – well, they were going to have to find people who could create it.

With a little bit of research, the Ryans reached out to Dr. Daryl L. Logan of the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. Dr. Logan, chair of the university’s mechanical and industrial engineering department, seemed a logical choice to the Ryans due to his impressive resume and history of work with both engineering design and creating accessible designs for the disabled.

Dr. Logan was touched by Gavin’s story, and decided to do what he could to assist this family. With their blessing, Dr. Logan assembled a team of student engineers at the University of Wisconsin. These students (Nate Demski, Kevin Diamond, Luke Dykstra, Ryan Fickau, and Michael Glodowski) chose to spend their Fall 2011 semester creating a cycling machine that Gavin could operate by himself. Their ingenuity and selfless dedication led them to the development of several conclusions.

He was going to need a motorized recumbent tricycle. Simply put, the best way for him to enjoy the mobility of a cycling experience was to let him sit back, relax his legs outward and push forward. The student team also designed an ingenious device which would allow him to operate a small motor with his head and neck when his legs became too tired to continue pedaling.

A minor stumbling block evolved when Dr. Logan and the UW students came to the problem of the pedaling system. The conventional rotary crank pedal on bicycles and tricycles was inoperable for Gavin as it caused far too much strain on his joints and muscles. However, the team had come too far to stop, and they weren’t going to let him down. They were going to have to do some research.

After a short while, the UW engineering team discovered the F.I.T. Foundation, which is a New Jersey-based R&D firm specializing in the development of new cycling systems which are more accessible to physically disabled riders. In particular, Bezerra’s patented Motion Transfer System (MTS) caught the team’s eye. The MTS consists of two longer, independent crank arms which operate in a stepping motion that is far more efficient than the conventional rotary pedal system. According to independent research, MTS offers over a three-to-one advantage over the conventional pedal system in all force-related aspects.

Dr. Logan and the UW team contacted Wilson X. Bezerra, founder of F.I.T. Foundation, and asked for his permission to utilize the MTS in their designs for Gavin. Despite still seeking investor funding and having not made a penny on his patented invention, he decided to offer his MTS to the design team – for free.

“At first I was hesitant,” Bezerra explains. “I mean, we hadn’t made any money at all yet and times were very hard for us. But when the students told me about Gavin and how brave he was, I thought to myself, ‘I should be as brave as he is.’ So the decision was easy.”

With the CEO’s help, the UW team incorporated the MTS design into their original recumbent tricycle plans. As it tends to happen when a group of selfless people get together, the design worked perfectly. By the end of 2011, Dr. Logan and the students of UW, with the blessing of the F.I.T. Foundation, presented Gavin Ryan with his very own, custom-built tricycle.

As Gavin rode his new bike up and down the halls of the engineering department in front of the faculty, Dr. Logan, the engineering students and his overjoyed parents, each of them was reminded of why they loved cycling in the first place. There will always be challenges, there will always be bigger and better innovations, and there will always be the thrills of adventure and speed. At the beginning and end of it all, however, is the independence, exhilaration, and pure happiness that a child gets from riding his very first bike.

“It was such a beautiful moment,” Bezerra says with a smile. “There is always time to make money. How often do you get the chance to make a physically disabled child’s life better?”

And in that moment, this young boy pushed the pedals on his custom-built tricycle, blissfully unaware of how everyone watching had become better because they’d met him as well.

disabled-veterans-charity

Help Us Give the Gift of Mobility – Donate Today!

 YES! I Want to Help OR Call 1-973-595-7388

OR Send Gift to: F.I.T. Foundation, 232 Union Boulevard, Totowa, NJ 07512

disabled-children-help

Patrick Stevens is a published author and columnist. He still keeps his first bicycle in his parent’s garage. More information on Dr. Daryl Logan can be acquired through the University of Wisconsin – Platteville website, www.uwplatt.edu.

Note: Dr. Logan is now part of the university’s Distance Education staff. To view information about him, see http://www.uwplatt.edu/disted/staff/117611522.html.

Additional Resources for Disabilities

shanesneckbrace.com

grassroots.org

volunteermatch.org

united-spinal-association

Your Donation Helps: disabled people, disabled children, disabled veterans, people with limited mobility, physically disabled, children with disabilities, people with physical disabilities, people who are physically impaired, people with disabling diseases such as arthrogryposis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, angelmans syndrome, fibromyalgia, accident injuries and other physical impairments.

Charitable Donations Help Pay For: motorized equipment, handicap assistive devices, assistive technology, mobility equipment, mobility devices, disability equipment, exercise equipment for disabled, disability equipment, manufacturing of mobility devices, distribution of our mobility devices to anyone who needs and can benefit from them.