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‘He always wanted ... to be a normal boy’

AMBUCS buys adapted therapeutic tricycle for teen

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 3:28 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017 8:46 a.m. CST
Caption
(BCR photo/Lyle Ganther)
Travis Freeman sits on his special tricycle he got prior to Christmas through AMBUCS. He is joined by sisters Morganne Johnson, Genniveve Johnson and Payten Mallery, who raised more than $500 at a fundraiser last fall to help Freeman get a tricycle he could ride.

PRINCETON — Travis Freeman’s dream of being a normal boy by riding a bike was fulfilled just before Christmas.

“I was ecstatic,” said Travis’ mother, Julie Williquette. “He always wanted to ride a bike and be a normal boy. Unfortunately special bikes like he needs are very expensive.”

Freeman, 13, of Princeton was diagnosed at 8 months old with a brain tumor; he also had a stroke when he was an infant. Since he still has a brain tumor, his special needs don’t allow him to ride a normal bicycle like other boys his age.

Morganne Johnson, 12, of Princeton, who has been a friend of Freeman since pre-school, knew about his dream and held a fundraiser last year on Main Street in Princeton next to Second Story.

Johnson and her sisters, Genniveve Johnson, 16, and Peyton Mallery, 14, were helped by others in Princeton to raise more than $500 to go toward the purchase of a tricycle for Freeman.

Mike Sargeant of Princeton heard about the fundraiser and connected the girls with AMBUCS, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina which has a mission to create mobility and independence for people with disabilities.

Rob Swon, president and founder of the I-80 AMBUCS Chapter, said he was told about Freeman at a picnic at Baker Lake in LaSalle in October.

“We decided to buy a trike for him,” he said. Freeman then received an adapted therapeutic tricycle prior to Christmas Eve from the organization.

The money raised at last fall’s fundraiser instead went for Christmas presents for Williquette’s family and another family where the father lost his job, Swon reported.

For more information about AMBUCS, call 815-883-1957.

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