School rallies around special needs boy to buy unique bicycle

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- An 11-year-old special needs boy received a surprise Wednesday from some 5th graders.

The class at Timber Creek Elementary School spent their school year raising money to buy a unique bicycle for the boy, who otherwise wouldn't be able to ride.

About 100 fifth graders raised money at pizza parties, staged a charitable walk, they even walked dogs in their neighborhood to help a child they didn't know.

The class surprised Maddox Truitt, 11, with the results of their efforts during a school assembly Wednesday. They raised $3,000 to purchase a special adaptive bicycle Maddox.

Maddox was born with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and autism. Maddox likes to go fast, but the medical conditions limit his mobility. When the fifth graders learned that the boy wanted to ride a bicycle with his family this summer, they decided to get him the special bike that would help him do what many kids take for granted.

"He now can ride around with his friends, so he's safe," said Ellie Ward, one of the students who helped raise money for Maddox. "He can ride around and his parents can push him. He'll be safe."

Maddox grinned from ear to ear after seeing the bicycle. His father took time to thank the class.

"It's really unbelievable that kids would pick a charity and then go out and do some work to make it happen and raise the money," said Tracey Truitt. "To actually see what they get after that, the smile on his face was just unbelievable."

The specially built adaptive bicycle allows for balance, strapping the child in at the waist and feet to prevent falls. An adult can also steer the bicycle from behind and brake, in case the child is unable to do those things. And yet Maddox still will experience the freedom of moving fast and getting exercise.

Variety Children's Charity of Kansas City says the bicycle also will help Maddox socially by eliminating isolation. It allows him to be just like any other kid on his block with a bike during the summer.

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