Providing adaptations for special needs

My husband Joe and I are both pharmacists, we have three children Charlotte 15, Michael 14 and Catherine 9. Joe and I met whilst studying pharmacy at Brighton and qualified together in 1995. Our daughter Charlotte has Down syndrome.

Due to the down syndrome Charlotte has low muscle tone and has never been able to ride a normal bicycle and in 2008, when Charlotte was 9yrs old, we were able with the help of a grant from Pharmacist Support to purchase her a Tomcat Tricycle/Trailer Combination. The specially adapted tricycle had provided many happy moments for both Charlotte and the whole family and has opened up our lives in ways we never imagined.

However, we recently noticed that her tricycle had become too small for her size, she was no longer able to keep up with her brother and sister and this had frustrated her. At 15 she had outgrown the tricycle and we needed to obtain a replacement to take her into to her adult years and for all of us to continue to enjoy cycling trips together as a family.

Pharmacist Support put us in touch with Children Today and between the two organisations they funded a new trailer tricycle combination from Tomcat for Charlotte.

Charlotte is extremely pleased with her new tricycle and has ridden both independently and via the trailer combination. We spent a wonderful afternoon on a 20 mile cycle ride, which all the family enjoyed. This new tricycle has specially adapted gears which will enable even greater independence, whilst still being customised to her individual needs. The gears have been set specially for her to maximise her ability to cycle.

Charlotte enjoys the social interaction of being part of a group and the use of the trailer system means that she can keep up and be fully involved in the activity. She is still able to use the gears when she is being towed via the trailer, which means she can still contribute to the ride. Charlotte is extremely proud of her new tricycle and we are very grateful to both organisations for the help we have received.