A Taylorsville mother’s decision to create a charity providing adaptive equipment to children with disabilities started at home.
Lana Kruger’s 7-year-old son Dominic suffers from a debilitating neurological disorder known as Angelman syndrome, which causes severe developmental delays.
Until a year ago, he was unable to walk and has been enduring multiple issues caused by his condition, including a sleep disorder and a susceptibility to seizures.
Kruger’s charity, Help Me Fly Inc., provides adaptive equipment for children with developmental disabilities so that they might have the same experiences as a healthy child.
The equipment typically requested includes adaptive bikes and cooling vests. Adaptive bikes provide the normal bicycling experience but typically have an additional wheel and restraints to increase stability and security.
Families who have requested equipment from the charity can’t afford to purchase adaptive bikes for their disabled children, Kruger said.
“Our kids can’t ride a normal bike, and we can’t buy (an adaptive) bike for $2,000 every summer when they grow out of them,” she said.
After starting her charity in March and operating solely off donations, Kruger purchased and donated the organization’s first adaptive bike about a month later.
Help Me Fly Inc. conducted its first official fundraiser last month, chosen as the charity partner for the Color Blaze 5k race in Columbus.
The charity’s next event, Kick-Off to Summer, is from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Clifty Creek Elementary School. The fundraiser will feature food, games and other activities.
Profiles of children waiting to receive adaptive equipment are available on the organization’s website. Individual disabilities vary, including autism, mitochondrial disease and other cases of Angelman syndrome.
Kyle Purcell, a 17-year-old from Florida with Angelman syndrome, epilepsy and mitochondrial disease, was the first person to receive an adaptive bike from Help Me Fly Inc.
His mother, Shannon Purcell, said Kruger reached her through an Angelman syndrome community website, followed by an application for funding for a bicycle.
“They raised the funds for Kyle’s bike in 10 days,” said Shannon Purcell. “He just loves it.”
Because of the moderate temperatures and climate in Florida, her son can use the bicycle year-round.
After establishing communication with Kruger and experiencing the benefits Help Me Fly Inc. provides, Purcell decided to become one of the charity’s board members.
“Every kid should have a bicycle,” she said.