Choosing the right trike for a child with special needs, can be a daunting experience.

Penny lives with her family in Lurgan, County Armagh in Northern Ireland.  Close to her cousins, who are her friends and playmates as well as family, Penny has grown up wanting to join in with their outdoor play but was held back by her mobility problems, caused by Cerebral Palsy.  Unable to walk, Penny could only crawl on her knees in the parks and playparks or was restricted to a wheelchair/walker.

However, one morning at a local special needs school, John Preston Healthcare, a leading supplier of mobility, healthcare and medical equipment, had organised a “Trike Day” – a chance for anyone to come along and try out their range of trikes, including Tomcat’s award-winning Tiger trike.  Penny’s mum, Shauna, already knew of John Preston, as they had supplied Penny’s walker, so she decided to go along.  Shauna knew that trikes existed which were specially adapted for children such as Penny but found the thought of trying to choose the one which was just right for her daughter daunting, to say the least.

Expert Advice and Assistance

Shauna could see that the Tomcat Tiger trike was just ideal for Penny with the help and guidance of Gary Allen, John Preston’s trained Tomcat trike assessor. The benefits of the easy to ride pedals, good core support and with the Carer Control handle, Shauna could assist her daughter to steer and brake whilst keeping her safe.  The Buddy Bear Trust, who have been there for Penny from her early days, provided the professional support to Shauna’s application for funding for the trike.  Penny’s wish to play outdoors with her cousins was becoming a whole lot closer to becoming a reality.

A life changing trike that benefits the whole family

Several weeks later and John Preston delivered Penny’s Tomcat Tiger.  Rides to the playpark, out and about with her cousins and visits with the Tiger trike in the back of the car to her grandparents in the countryside, are now an everyday part of Penny’s life.

She gets excited when she knows a ride on the trike is coming up and the whole cycling experience “cheers her up”. Penny’s independence has definitely increased with the arrival of the Tomcat Tiger trike and her family now look forward to bike rides all together, once her little brother of 11 months has done a little more growing up!

As far as any outdoors activities are concerned, Penny has gone from being an onlooker to her friends’ outdoor fun to now being much more “part of the team”, thanks to the Tomcat Tiger trike.  Shauna sums up what she feels is the Tiger’s most important contribution to the changes in her daughter’s lifestyle;

“The fact that she’s included with her friends and she can enjoy activities as they do”.