MONTICELLO – Katie Walden of Monticello recently put out a Facebook appeal for an adaptive bike for her son, Liam, who has Batten’s disease, a progressive neurological condition.
And people responded. Liam would receive a duo bike – which would allow him to ride up front while someone pedaled behind – if he was the top vote-getter or raised $4,995 in the Great Bike Giveaway .
People decided not to take the risk and quickly donated $5,080 to the cause.
Liam, who is eight years old, will receive his bike in 14 to 16 weeks.
“While our intention was to get votes for Liam, we never anticipated the donations would be pouring in. As you have shown us over and over, Liam is so loved and this is the greatest gift we could ever ask for,” Katie Walden posted on Facebook.
A donation of $2,110 from an anonymous donor helped put the fundraiser over the top for the Great Bike Giveaway.
“He’s really sweet, has the most infectious smile and loves being outdoors, but doesn’t get the chance to get out and play like most kids his age do,” Katie said.
“For a child with special needs, riding a bike is more than exercise. It’s about inclusion and making them feel loved,” she added.
Liam was diagnosed in 2017 with Batten disease (CLN2), a rare progressive genetic disorder affecting 1 in 100,000 births. He receives enzyme replacement therapy every 14 days at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, which helps slow the progression of the disease, but for the moment there is no cure.
“We want to give him (and his big brother Max, 11) as much love as possible of beautiful and memorable experiences. This bike would give us the opportunity to cycle as a family, which we have never been able to do before.