Little three-year-old Nina proudly rode her first tricycle at a very special Canada Day bike rally hosted by Variety Alberta and Cerebral Palsy Kids and Families (CPKF) at North Glenmore Park.

Nina’s mom, Maggie Facca, describes the journey she and her family have experienced since adopting Nina when the baby was just one hour old.

“Shortly after birth, Nina showed had shown some early warning signs that something was not registering as target developmental signs to the doctors, and by 13 months, she was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy. Since then, we have learned a lot, including the benefits of using adaptive bikes for not only recreation but for helping her muscles develop better strength and more body control. Nina loves her new bike and we are so grateful for the opportunity for Nina to be able to receive a bike and be able to play like other children.”

Nina’s first bike is an adapted one — with special straps and foot pads that keep her feet on the pedals as she learns her new skill and a safety strap that keeps her secure in her seat.  Her family participates in the Adapted Bike program, which matches children with the perfect bike to fit their specialized needs. The bikes can be exchanged on a yearly basis as the kids grow and refine their skills.

Variety Alberta has supported families with financial barriers in the adaptive bike program. Our support has allowed child with special needs the opportunity to practice motor skills, coordination, muscle strengthen and the freedom and fun of riding a bike – often for the first time.