Winner’s name: Michelle Howard for her son, Ladale (la-dell), Greenville, South Carolina

Hello Tom:

Five years ago, the world as I knew it changed. It started out like any other ordinary day — trying to keep up with my then active five year-old son, Ladale. He liked to jump around on my bed doing flips in the air. That day he cut a flip and crashed his back into the televison. He got up and tried to walk it off, but he began to cry and scream in pain. Itold him to lie down, not realizing the severity of his injury, but when he could not move his legs again I rushed him to the hospital for x-rays. Ladale had suffered a spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed from the waist down.    

Tom, as a parent of a young child with paralysis, I can not express how devastating it could be at times. It has been Ladale’s strength—humor and courage that has gotten us both through the last few years.  Now ten, he is a bright boy who strives every day to become more independent.  Lately, he has wanted to do some of the activities that his three other brothers enjoy—like riding bicycles through the neighborhood.   

During my son’s recovery he had a chance to ride an adaptive tricycle specifically designed for children with special needs and he fell in love with it. Unfortunately, it is an expensive item that I do not have the money for and so he has not been able to ride bikes like other children. It is my Christmas wish to ask for your help to bring  back  this simple pleasure for my son by getting him a hand-powered tricycle for older children  that not only will grow with him, but can be adapted to his physical disability and give him back the joyous  experience  of being able to ride independently.         

Thank you, Michelle Howard



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