Group offers special needs kids independence with adaptive trykes

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Jade Christiansen was born with no hip joints. The 15-year-old's legs are shortened. Her feet are where her knees should be so she can't ride a bicycle.

But she can ride a modified tricycle; she uses her arms and hands to operate pedals that are built into a steering column.

"It's really cool. It's kinda fun," she said.

Jade's tricycle came from Imua Kakou Trykes. The non-profit donates them free of charge to youngsters with physical or mental challenges, after they pass an evaluation.

Sandie Wood is a retired physical therapist and president of Imua Kakou Trykes. She said the trykes increase mobility and enable these children to exercise.

"It gives a child some independence. We can take a child who is in a wheelchair, not walking, and get them on a bike and help them to move," she said.

The nonprofit started three years ago and is affiliated with a national organization called AMBUCS (Creating Mobility & Independence for People with Disabiliteis). Imua Kakou Trykes has given away 40 trykes to special needs children in Hawaii.

Seven-year-old James Christiansen's brain injury limits his body control. He's able to ride a tryke that was adapted to his condition.

Dana Christiansen and her husband adopted James and Jade.

"To see them on bikes and moving like normal kids is something special for us," she said.

Parts for the trykes come from the mainland. The non-profit assembles and customizes them. And demand is growing.

Imua Kakou Trykes just started modifying models for adults, but it needs contributions to buy more so adults and kids can have what Jade and James finally have -- pedal power.

"It's more than exercise," Jade said. "It's confidence."

To find out more about Imua Kakou Trykes, click here.

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