Thanks to Christopher’s Promise and those partnering with the non-profit organization founded by Lauren Lichtenauer of Columbus, Ohio, Andrew Martin of Warwick Neck is back in a bike seat.
Andrew, who has ataxia-telangiectasia, a rare, degenerative disease that affects 1 in 40,000 children, had a tricycle up until about two years ago when he outgrew it.
Lauren learned of Andrew’s wish to get back on the road through the Hendriques family who live near the Martins. The family spearheaded the first Rhode Island Polar Dip this February for the benefit of Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine. Both Lauren and the Hendriques family volunteer at the camp.
Lauren met Christopher at Camp Sunshine. He was 15 at the time and had never ridden a bike because of multiple disabilities. She set out to do something about it and in the process started an organization that has already provided 42 cycles to young people with disabilities under the age of 18. She said that a grant from Athletes Helping Athletes enabled the purchase of the bike valued at more than $2,500. There were more partners. Keen Footwear provided shoes for Andrew and Joe Savic at Providence Cycle assembled the tricycle.
This is Christopher’s Promise’s first donation in Rhode Island and Lauren was here to watch Andrew take a spin on Narragansett Bay Avenue Sunday. Lauren says the cycles can be a “life changer” for those with disabilities. “It gives them independence and mobility,” she said. Andrew took to it immediately. And, appropriately, the cycle bore a small plate affixed to the rear of its reclining seat. It reads: “2 Fast 4 You.”