HERMISTON, Ore. - Learning to ride a bike is a classic rite of passage, but it doesn't always come easy for some.
and Lisa DeLong's daughter, Bailey, lives with down syndrome, and
riding a bike has always been a challenge for the 26-year-old. Bailey's
parents said their daughter would often get frustrated that she wasn't
able to pick up the skill.
"She could never learn to ride...she
never had the ability to stay up," said Lisa DeLong. "I've tried and
she's tired of dad trying to help," added Matt DeLong.
years of trying to teach her, they decided to enroll her in a bike camp
through the iCan Shine organization. The program's mission is to provide
learning opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
want her to have as normal of a life as she can have and so this just
another opportunity for her to have a skill that most kids enjoy, riding
bikes," said Matt.
All weeklong, Bailey and 30 other
participants spent 75 minutes a day learning to ride bikes. They
started with rollers attached to the back of the bike and the goal was to
have the training wheels off by the end of the week.
have patience with the kids...they have really good interaction with
them," said Lisa when asked about to the program. "They know how to
talk to them without belittling or making them feel like they're
less--this is an awesome program," she continued.
research showing that 90% of people with down syndrome will never
experience the thrill of pedaling a bike, the iCan Shine program is changing lives
one rider at a time.
Organizers said this year's camp doubled in size and that by the end of week, 80% of the participants were riding bikes on their own.
When asked how she felt about having learned to ride a bike, Bailey replied, "It feels good inside."