|| Des Moines, IA || Submitted: 2011-04-08
|| Total Cost:
Progress: We've raised 40% of the cost of this application!
M.S. Patient Needs Recumbant Trike
When I married my husband in 2003, I knew he had Multiple Sclerosis. He was 47 and I was 49 and we were so in love. He is not quite legally blind and has hearing aids in both ears. He is plagued by drop foot (MS related inability to raise his foot, like you or I do, when he takes a step) and some accompanying weakness in the legs. He can walk only a block with a cane before he risks falling. Yet, he is inspirational in his refusal to dwell in self-pity.
He voluntarily gave up his driver's license in 2001 and his life was largely at the mercy of others to avoid complete isolation--the loss of his independence was probably the single most miserable reality in his highly challenged life. To eliminate the problem of isolation and find a solution to the problem of a cardio workout that would accommodate his physical limitations, I had what turned out to be a revelation.
I took my husband to a local Bike shop. I pointed out a six-foot long, red recumbent trike and coaxed him to try it out. As he lowered himself down onto the plush gel seat, settled back into the high nylon sling back and put his feet onto the pedals, the look of consternation dissolved into sheer ecstasy as he pedaled around the enormous parking lot with the same ease you or I might have. The trike is stable and the seat low, but not too low. He would be able to assist himself to his feet with the aid of the 'ape hanger' handlebars.
With twenty one speeds, he could overcome the weakness in his legs to climb any hill. When he felt the need for rest, he need only use the hand breaks because in a recumbent trike, you are already in a reclined position and you recover fast. Trikes don't fall over when they stop like bikes. Over the last seven years, I spent all my life savings in caring for him and last year, the last of my life insurance money went to supplying him a new lease on life in the form of a Sun EZ 3 Recumbent Trike.
He strapped his cane to the frame with a bungee cord and he went everywhere he wanted to go, when he wanted to go. He came home spilling over with stories of his adventures on bike paths, parks, grocery shopping, and even the swimming pool. His doctor said he lost ten pounds the first month. He was brimming with vitality and enthusiasm as he spoke of the people he had met, the birds and animals he had come across and the places he had gone. He was a new man. Then, about ten days ago, he went out to the porch where the trike was chained and corded to the main supporting pillar. It was gone! The combination cords and the chains had been cut.
We reported it to the police but have very little likelihood of ever seeing his beloved trike again. We now subsist on his meager SSI. When our landlord, a good man, found out about the trike being stolen, he promised to build us a trike storage unit in three weeks, with a door that could be locked. That would be a great improvement from dragging it up the five steps to the porch but we no longer have a trike to put in it. We phoned all over the city and found a bike shop that would sell a Sun EZ 3 Recumbent Trike for a low amount (that includes tax--hundreds of dollars less than they were priced elsewhere).
My husband desperately needs another recumbent trike to stay healthy in every way that he can, so that the progression of his disease is slowed and he does not fall prey to other maladies due to inactivity and depression. Thank you kindly for considering my husband's need .
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