This bike ride is more than just an outdoor activity. For Patrick Sweeney, it’s freedom.
“Makes you feel like you’re whole again. Makes you feel like you’re back at it. Like you’re a normal person. You don’t have limitations, the sky’s the limit.”
Sweeney is one of 20 cyclists who particiated in “Get Up and Ride Day!” in Lancaster County Sunday afternoon.
All of them are physically challenged. But thanks to the IM ABLE Foundation, they now have access to adaptive bikes. The bikes are designed based on a person’s abilities. This one for example is a hand cycle. It allows someone who’s lost ability in their legs to ride using the hand cranks.
A former U.S. Marine and Founder of IM ABLE, Chris Kaag knows first hand what it’s like. “You wouldn’t believe what I would give to have your legs and to be able to get out there and do the things that you have the ability to do. I was 21-years-old, I was a marine and I thought I had the world figured out.”
Until he discovered he had a degenerative nerve condition. Once an avid mountain biker, he now uses a wheelchair to get around. “If I didn’t have this happen to me I don’t think I would appreciate all the great things that I have now,” Kaag added.
That appreciation is now being felt by others. For Thomas Matroni, it was about bonding with his family. “A lot of the time you can’t do some of the same stuff that they would do but for anyone else just to come out here and show them that it doesn’t matter what you may think your disability is, you can do anything you put your mind to,” said Matroni.
Hearing those words Kaag says, makes it all the more rewarding. “When we show them that there’s a possibility for them to get out there and do something, it’s pretty awesome.”
IM ABLE plans to expand services in Lancaster County. It needs $40,000 dollars to create a base of operations near Spooky Nook Sports in East Hempfield Township. If you’d like to volunteer or donate, click on the following link: https://imablefoundation.org/