CLIVE, Iowa – For a 12 year-old, riding your bicycle through the neighborhood with your friends is normal. Being diagnosed with leukemia a week after your 12th birthday, however, is not.
That’s part of the story for Megan Ford, a Des Moines girl who received her cancer diagnosis in February 2014, just after blowing out the birthday candles. Having undergone a bone marrow transplant as part of her treatment, Ford lost much of her balance, and will have to re-learn how to walk.
But several groups came together Tuesday to help make her journey a little easier. The Des Moines Children’s Cancer Connection partnered with Barr Bike Shop in Clive to donate to Ford a brand-new Terra Trike cycle. A Michigan-based company, Terra Trike creates cycles for people with conditions who can’t ride a regular bicycle. They give away four of their models for free each year, and when Barr Bike Shop called, they answered.
“You know, she’s home, but she can’t go to school. Because her immune system is less than a newborn, and so there’s a lot of things we’ve had to say no to,” her mother, Linda, said. “But with these we can’t say, ‘you can’t go ride your bike.’ She can take off down the neighborhood, and go for a spin.”
For Megan, the new Terra Trike means she can move part of her physical therapy to the outdoors.
“I’ll get to ride around with my friends, but also continue my rehabilitation to gain my balance back,” Ford said.
Ford was one of the Blank Children’s Hospital’s 2014 “Kid Heroes” for being a role model to other children battling various forms of cancer.