- Associated Press - Monday, July 17, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Libby Pellow’s father described her experience at camp as “kind of miraculous.”

Libby was one of 18 children with disabilities who learned how to ride a bicycle during the iCan Bike camp.

Libby, 12, was transformed from a child who could not ride at all to a confident rider. She has a cognitive disorder that made it difficult for her to learn how to ride before the camp.

“It’s kind of miraculous at the end of the week when they get on a bike and ride it, because you’ve spent so many hours before trying, really with very little success,” her father Blake Pellow said.

Blake Pellow said that as a parent of a child with a disability, he has learned to celebrate successes that might seem small.

“You don’t know what kind of successes you’re going to have in life and they get trimmed down as you realize your child’s abilities,” he said. “To ride a bike is really independent for her, so we’re thrilled.”

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/2uScSNe ) reports that the camp held at Heritage Hall stems from the international iCan Shine organization. The nonprofit partners with communities to hold camps for biking, swimming and dancing.

About 80 percent of participants can independently ride a conventional two-wheeled bicycle after completing the camp.

Riders start out on specialty bicycles that use a roller in place of a back wheel to provide more stability. As riders progress, the bicycles are adjusted to provide less balance. Campers start trying conventional bicycles about halfway through the week.

Floor supervisor with iCan Shine Brianne Henrichs said 18 out of 24 riders from the Oklahoma City camp can now ride independently.

“Many of these kids have been trying for very long and had, you know, falls or fear or anxiety,” Henrichs said. “This is a nice safe place for them to find success early and then continue throughout the week.”

She said her favorite thing about leading camps for the past nine years is getting to play a part in a child’s journey.

“That’s what I love the most is to be a witness and be a part of it,” she said. “I got to meet some really amazing people.”

Steve Brooks served as a co-host and representative of the Edmond Kiwanis Club. He was inspired to host the camp after learning about iCan Shine during an international Kiwanis conference two years ago.

“I spent hours on YouTube watching videos of this program in other places and I just knew this was something I really had to get involved with,” he said.

Brooks is a cyclist, so the camp was meaningful for him.

“We all take for granted as a kid learning how to ride a bike typically and these kids do struggle at it, parents try to teach them, but it doesn’t always work real well,” he said. “This is a perfect program that brings the perfect environment for them to learn.”

He said he is already looking forward to holding the camp next year and hopes to have 40 riders.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com


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