Ambucs Gives Away Modified Bicycles - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Ambucs Gives Away Modified Bicycles

Giving physically challenged children the independence and mobility of others, was the focus of a gathering in Longview today. For the past 18 years, Ambucs workers have been giving special bikes to special kids.

From all over East Texas and Louisiana, parents brought their physically-challenged children to Longview, for a chance to ride a bike made just for them.  "It really brings tears to my eyes being able to see my little girl out there smiling and being able to enjoy it," said Kimberly Poland, whose daughter received one of the bikes.

Given to the families at no cost, the Ambucs organization fits each bike to each individual.  "It was fun to see her getting around on the bicycle cause she loves to ride.  She loves to do things for herself.  She's drive real good," said Shreveport visitor Tommy Burns.  His niece received a bike.

Eighteen years ago, Sue Haywood, the current president of Longview II Ambucs,  envisioned the idea of making a bicycle that special needs kids could ride using hand pedals. She called it the "amtryke".  "It gives them some normalcy they feel like they're like anyone else outside riding a bike or trike. The fact that we're able to do this and it's not a burden on the families, that's the reward I get out of it," said Haywood.

And the kids can tell their friends something they've never said before.  "I'm going to tell them I'm going to ride with them," said Melanie Taywater, 14.

For the families, the smiles on the faces of their children were enough.  "Oh my God the expression on her face just blew me away.  I've never seen her that happy, not even at Christmas time," said Poland.

Ambucs gives out thousands of the Amtrykes every year. More than 100 of them have been given out in Longview in just the last five weeks.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.



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