Like most 6-year-olds, Owen Klug wanted a bicycle to ride around the neighborhood. But unlike other youngsters, he couldn’t go to a local store and pick one out.
Owen, who lives with his family in Odin, has a rare disorder called Dravet Syndrome; it is a disorder characterized by severe, chronic epilepsy and global developmental delay.
But thanks to the teamwork of his family and Sunflower Diversified Services, Owen is now riding his new Rifton bike, which retails for $2,500.
This all began when Billie Crawshaw, Sunflower case manager, noticed a “Great Bike Giveaway” on the Friendship Circle of Michigan website.
“I routinely check on special needs websites, looking for ways to enhance the lives of Sunflower families,” Crawshaw said. “This time it really paid off; Owen’s smile is worth everything.”
Crawshaw had contacted Owen’s mom, Kiley Klug, about the bike-giveaway contest, in which votes and donations were considered. Kiley then submitted information about her son and he was awarded one of 18 bicycles.
The bike, which was adapted for Owen, recently arrived with its high back with a headrest, chest support, foot supports and a lever for pushing. He is not only having fun, he is also giving his limbs much-needed movement.
“When it was delivered in about three boxes, Kiley didn’t wait for help with assembly,” Crawshaw commented. “She put it together on her own; she was so excited.
“This is why we do what we do at Sunflower,” the case manager added. “We want to go as many extra miles as we can to enhance the lives of our families. They go through so much and this little bit of extra work was well worth the smile on Owen’s face.”
Owen needs total care from his family, with Sunflower’s help. He is non-verbal, and needs assistance with feeding and personal hygiene.
Kiley noted there are few activities Owen can enjoy but this new bike is a treasure.
“This is such a great gift for him,” Kiley said. “He enjoyed his Amtryke but had outgrown it. When Billie at Sunflower gave us this opportunity for a bike at no cost, we jumped on it. Owen is using it every day that he can. He just loves being outside with the wind in his face.
“We are so very grateful to family, friends and the community,” Kiley added. “In addition, we appreciate the bike-contest organizers and anyone who participated by voting or donating to the cause.”
Kiley also noted that the bike is not strictly for recreation. It also allows Owen to stretch.
“Any kind of movement is good,” Kiley explained. “His joints and muscles are very stiff. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate Billie and everyone else at Sunflower.”
Sunflower, a non-profit agency, has been serving people with developmental disabilities and delays for 48 years. Its service area includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.