Cruisin': Rifton Tricycle Giveaway

Posted on in Heartland, Heartland 2017

“I’m cruisin’! I’m cruisin’!’”

That’s the song Leighton Pullin sang through his smile as he rode down the sidewalk on his new Rifton Adaptive Tricycle, awarded during a special ceremony at Heartland Conference 2017.

Leighton and three other Waterloo, Iowa, area kids were presented with new Rifton Adaptive Tricycles, gifts made possible through partnerships among VGM, U.S. Rehab, Variety – the Children’s Charity and Rifton.

The recipients, ranging in ages from seven to 10, have varying special needs that prevent them from safely operating traditional bicycles. Their new tricycles include features that allow them to pedal and maneuver safely, while improving their balancing skills, motion patterns, visual and spatial perceptions, and perhaps most importantly, their opportunities to interact with friends and family.

One of the recipients, 10-year-old Nyareeyah Jones, will use the gift to assist in her gross motor skills progression and to interact with her siblings and friends.

“This is such a relief," said Nyareeyah's dad, Francisco Jones. "Her brothers and sisters play outside all the time, but she doesn’t have anything to ride. This is definitely going to change the summer for us.”

Meet the Recipients

 Luke Nelson, 7

Luke was born without use of his right arm and leg. He was later diagnosed with a genetic condition; the left side of his brain does not have the right number of wrinkles, causing impairment to his right arm and leg. With the help of a therapist, Luke is able to use his arm and leg, but it is difficult. The Rifton Adaptive Tricycle will provide a safe and fun opportunity for Luke to build up his muscles and improve his range of motion.

Neftali Chuy Equila, 10

Due to a diminished mental capacity, Neftali is not able to safely ride a traditional bike. This adaptive bike will allow Neftali to ride with her friends, providing an opportunity for exercise and social inclusion.

Leighton Pullin, 8

Leighton was hit by a truck in 2016, leaving his body fractured. He has been in rehab and has since graduated to outpatient therapies. This trike will allow him to take his therapy home with him. It will help increase his coordination, core strength, and balance.   

Nyareeyah Jones, 10 

Nyareeyah has a diagnosis of CMV with gross motor delay and delayed milestones. Her new adaptive tricycle will assist in her gross motor progression. It will also help to strengthen her extremities. Most importantly, this trike will allow her to interact with her siblings and friends.

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The tricycles were presented to the children and their families in a special presentation during the Hog Roast celebration at VGM’s annual Heartland Conference on Monday, June 12.

“Making lifelong connections is what U.S. Rehab’s community of members and vendor-partners is all about,” said Greg Packer, president of U.S. Rehab, a division of VGM Group, Inc. “With the help of Variety – the Children’s Charity and our vendor-partner Rifton, we are changing the lives of four children. These children will now experience the joy and freedom of riding a bike to exercise and socialize with their family and friends.”      

Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa handled the vetting process to select the four recipients of the Rifton adaptive tricycles. The children, ranging in ages from seven to ten, have varying special needs that prevent them from safely operating a traditional bicycle. The tricycles include features for ease in use, maneuverability and power to help them live a more independent life.

“In my line of work, there is never a moment more rewarding than seeing a child gain mobility and independence,” said Joe Keiderling, executive vice president for Rifton Equipment. “The collaboration among VGM, U.S. Rehab, Variety, and Rifton is a great example of this, and we at Rifton are proud to play a part. The years we’ve devoted to designing quality adaptive equipment are paid back handsomely by rewards such as this.”