BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Even something as simple as riding a bike can be a challenge for someone living with a disability or special needs, but one man wants to make this outdoor activity enjoyable for everyone.
For the last 14 years, Andrew McLindon has been giving children with disabilities an opportunity to feel like a kid again by giving them a bike through the McLindon Family Foundation.
“It’s just beautiful,” McLindon said. “I mean a lot of times the children, it’s been kept a surprise and they get a bike and their reactions, you know, one little boy said, ‘A bike for me, a bike for me,’ he couldn’t believe that someone was going to buy him a bike.”
These bikes can cost thousands of dollars, a price tag out of reach for many families. McLindon said the joy of telling families they are getting this gift is overwhelming as he reflected on a phone call he had with a mom after telling her the foundation was giving her child a bike.
“‘I’m going to buy this bike for you and we will have it to you in three weeks,’ and the phone when silent for two minutes… and she came back and she was weeping,” McLindon recalled. “And I hung up that phone and Ariel and I were driving down the street and I was just screaming, ‘Yes, yes,’ I was just celebrating so much because that’s what we live for.”
He said these bikes help children gain physical and emotional strength.
“Before having the bike, [they] would sit on their front door stoop watching their siblings and their neighborhood children riding their bikes down the street, and now they were part of that so you can imagine emotionally and psychologically the difference between that,” said McLindon.
The foundation has changed the lives of over 400 children, and their goal is to keep on giving.
“The most important thing is simply that these children would be able to experience the joy and freedom of having their own bike like most of us did when we were younger.”
The McLindon Foundation is holding its annual fundraiser. If you would like to help them reach their goal, you can donate here.