Friends and family gathered around the parking lot at Lyons Township High School South Campus on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon recently. Though everyone was spread out, the hum of excitement easily permeated the distance. Balloons bobbed in the breeze and people held up festive and encouraging signs as Ece, 15, zoomed around the lot in her new adaptive bicycle.
Ece lives with a life-threatening seizure disorder. In many ways a typical teen, Ece likes to be with friends and family and likes shopping, watching movies and dancing. Her condition affects her mobility and balance but does not impact her energy or enthusiasm. She wished for an adaptive bike so she could be out more with family and friends.
The timing of her wish turned out to be fantastic as her bicycle was delivered just as the country was shutting down due to the global pandemic. Ece missed seeing her friends and teachers at school. They bicycle helped her to get out and interact with the world.
Her sister shared that Ece is able to get out and ride for two hours every day, where the neighbors have become accustomed to seeing her and now come out to wave as she goes by. “It's been great since she hasn't been able to be at school recently,” her sister said.
As she rode around the parking lot, Ece waved to schoolmates, cousins, teachers and friends with a big smile, gathering strength from her community of supporters.