Julia Grace Collins
My name is Julia Grace Collins and I would like to tell you why I think I should receive the grant for a handcycle.
I used to be able to ride my old handcycle, but I got too big to fit onto it anymore and I really miss riding. When I had a bike to ride, I wanted to get outside and be more active. The reason that I would really enjoy getting the grant is because I have two older siblings who are both about to go to college. I would like to have a handcycle so I could ride a few times a week and get back to being able to do a mile by myself or even farther.
Julia Grace Collins
During my pregnancy my husband and I found out that our third child would be born with spina bifida. While coming to terms with the diagnosis, we decided we would do everything in our power to allow Julia Grace to experience all the things our two older children had done.
At age three, Julia Grace started therapeutic horseback riding and loved it, despite being thrown from a spooked horse at age 4. She continued to ride and even placed first in dressage in her second show in Virginia at age 9 over 80 other riders, ranging in age from five to adults. Shortly thereafter, Julia Grace became unable to sit on a horse due to severe hip pain after a tethered cord surgery. She really hated to have to give up riding but the hip pain could not be controlled and riding became too painful.
Since that time, Julia Grace has tried handcycling, basketball, and downhill skiing. We bought her a Top End XLT Jr. handcycle for her sixth birthday thinking that she would be able to ride it forever, as it "fits sizes up to 5 feet" and many kids with spina bifida do not reach that height. Julia Grace reached 5 feet last year and can no longer fit in her bike. She rode her handcycle about three times a week for many weeks out of the year, and had worked up to two miles in our hilly neighborhood. We have tried to modify the cycle so she can fit, but we cannot seem to get any more growth out of it.
This fall, our oldest child, Jessica, will start college and the following year Christopher, our middle child, will attend college. We cannot afford another handcycle for the next few years, until at least the two oldest are our of school.
We hate the thought that Julia Grace will have to give up another thing she has enjoyed. She currently plays basketball with the Charlotte Rollin' Bobcats from September to early March, and we hope she can continue that as she starts high school next year. We are not sure, however, since school will not dismiss until 3:45 and practice is about 2 hours away in south Charlotte starting at 4 o'clock. Handcycling is one thing we can do together as a family, isn?t dependant on school schedules, and can be done locally in our neighborhood. Thank you for considering our application.