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Plenty of Sea to Sky Corridor residents know the sheer joy of getting on a sweet set of wheels and riding out onto trails full of fresh air and stunning views. For many people, riding a bike on a regular basis has so many benefits, from cardiovascular health and physical literacy to balance, mental wellness and social connection with peers.

For local youth Charlee Carter, a bike was a dream… one that has now come true.

“Charlee knows she’s different, but being able to ride her bike is something that I feel she takes pride in because it makes her like everybody else,” says her mom Teena. “Getting this bike has given her freedom, it’s given her speed, a sense of power….. she is laughing at me because I can’t keep up with her now.”

As a caregiver for a child with a disability, Teena lives in a daily life cycle that can feel repetitive and at times a heavy responsibility. The opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature is often limited, leaving feelings of isolation that are the biggest obstacle in caring for a child with disabilities. “It’s more difficult to feel the wonder of life, through a lens of negativity,” she shares, “It’s easy to get lost in the challenges, but I have come to a place of deep gratitude. I simply wouldn’t be this person whom I adore, without this gift of Charlee, the challenges, the darkness, and most importantly the beauty.”

The pathway to getting an adaptive bike takes patience, and advocacy. There are numerous processes to follow and forms to fill in. Jacqui Moffatt, Occupational Therapist with Sea to Sky Community Services, helped to guide Teena through the necessary paperwork.

“It can be a lengthy process to support getting the funding needed for an adaptive bike,”  says Jacqui. “Though, it is also an incredibly rewarding part of my job seeing a child ride and the joy this brings them and their family… but it takes time to establish funding sources, to prove eligibility, to demo-test available bikes, to the back-and-forth of customizing the adaptive features. It is such a joy when all the advocacy, preparation and paper pushing brings an actual bike to a child. And seriously…. This kid? One day she biked 10k!”

Teena maintains that the process never felt unreasonable: the right funds need to be spent on the right equipment, for the right person. “Jacqui has been amazing. Yes, it took longer than expected, but we want Charlee to be able to use this bike for a long time, and we want these programs to be used properly so others can benefit too.”

“You have to walk this path, one step at a time, but this whole experience has given us hope that positive change is possible.”

Teena’s voice changes when she shares her plans for the future.

“I’m working towards getting a bus conversion,” she says, “adapted to hold our bikes. Once she’s done her schooling, we are going to explore the world and our bikes will be a big part of that journey.”

Click here to learn more about Sea to Sky Community Services therapies for motor skill development. Or to support this program and others like it, please consider making a donation today.