IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - A local nonprofit helps raise funds to provide adaptable bikes for kids with special needs. The bikes are considered medical, so they can be expensive. But the bikes open up an entire world for a child.
Bike for Kids Idaho started 10 summers ago.
"We were down at Shriner's Hospital with my boy and I saw a child riding a special needs bike," said founder Kristy Mickelsen. She asked how a child would get one of these bikes and a was told there is a three-year waiting list. She told her husband this wasn't fair.
"So my friends and I started this Bike for Kids Idaho just to raise money to allow families an opportunity, a way to get an adaptable bike," said Mickelsen. She is the director. There are many volunteers and community support, but Vanessa Jansen and Emily Wilding are the two assistant directors. KIDK Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz asked them both why be involved with the organization.
"Sorry, getting emotional. You see kids get a bike. You see the parents and that's why you do it," said Jansen.
"And I think sometime we take for granted that we can just hop on our bikes and go do this, and there are a lot of families that are in a situation with their abilities or whatever, they can't," said Wilding.
Michele Hayes's son, Jackson, is 10 years old. He just got his bike the night before this interview.
"Rode it until 11 p.m. last night. He was so excited to have it. He can ride through the grass. He had a bike previously, but he outgrew it. And now he's got this one that he can do a little bit more with, which will be nice. So he can ride with his friends," said Hayes.
She said to see his reaction just touches her heart. Now Jackson can ride with his family too.
"It's just like I have more freedom to do stuff," said Jackson.
Time to Pay it Forward.
"We have over 20 sponsors from the community that make it possible," said Mickelsen.
"Kristy, how are you?" said Kory Carling walking up and interrupting the interview.
"Good," replied Mickelsen.
"Good, I'm Kory with Mountain America Credit Union," said Carling.
"Hi," said Mickelsen.
"We've heard about your organization and what you're doing with these kids and the joy that you're putting on their faces. And so for that, I'm here today to Pay It Forward. So I've brought with me today $500 cash that I know you can put toward good use and continue to help these children," said Carling.
"We will. Oh thank you!" said Mickelsen.
"So on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, thank you for all that you do," said Carling.
"Thank you so much. That is so kind. Thank you!" said Mickelsen.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"That's going to make me cry. Thank you so much Kory," said Mickelsen.
Mickelsen said her group has given out 106 bikes since its founding. The bikes range in price. She said from $300 to the most expensive one they've given away at $3,800.
Bike for Kids Idaho has a fundraising ride coming up June 24 at 10:30 a.m. at Snake River Landing in Idaho Falls. Registration and check-in for the 4-mile family ride will begin at 9:30 a.m. Click here for details.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "Pay It Forward" on the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.