Skip to navigation

What we're up to

news News Thursday, April 12, 2018 Thursday, April 12, 2018 2:20 PM - Thursday, April 12, 2018 2:20 PM

Tim, 12, rides bike for the first time

Tim, 12, rides bike for the first time

In February while it was still chilly outside in Chicago, Tim was indoors practicing for a rite of spring for Chicago-area kids – the first bike ride of the season. The 12-year-old, who was born without arms, required more than just a neat looking bicycle to take his ride. Thanks to his medical team at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago and Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) — Chicago, Tim received a custom brace that will allow him to ride a typical, not adapted bike, for the first time in his life.

Tim putting on his bike brace“Tim brought a video from another hospital showing a kid with disabilities riding a bike…As a prosthetist it is exciting and fun to brainstorm with patients’ ideas,” India Jacobson,CPO, a certified prosthetist with POPS said. “It was also helpful in the process to have his mom Linda, who was also born without arms, there to help Tim learn to use the bicycle brace.”

Jacobson created the custom bicycle brace using the rear section of a thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO) back brace. She connected it with straps to PVC material that slide onto the bicycle handlebars. With some practice in our hospital’s Patient Activity Mall, Tim was able to attach the straps himself using his mouth. “My brace for bike riding is working out really well,” Tim said.

Linda is happy for the physical and emotional benefits for her son. “Riding a two wheeler requires using muscles not used in daily activities. It’s great exercise and an important part of being a kid,” Linda said. “Having a two wheeler will allow Tim to join his peers this summer and feel like part of the crowd.”

Tim has been a longtime patient of Jeffrey Ackman, M.D., a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon among whose specialties is treating children with limb differences. He heard all about Tim’s bike ride. “What an amazing display. With our patients I often see that ‘where there’s a will there’s way’ when it comes to activities,” he said.

Read more on Tim and his mom Linda, who was also a Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago patient.