Boy with rare condition receives adaptive bike from Gillette Children’s

Ryker Loomis, 4, rides in his adaptive bicycle that he received from Gillette Children's Hospital. (FOX 9)

A Minnesota boy with special health needs is back on the trails after receiving an adaptive bike from Gillette Children's Hospital.

Four-year-old Ryker Loomis has a need for speed. 

"He just likes going fast and this allows it," said Ryker’s mom, Alyse Loomis. 

Born with a rare SATB2-associated syndrome, Ryker is non-verbal, hyperactive, and has low tone with looser muscles throughout his body. When Ryker was about 18 months old, his parents realized biking was a big help.  

"When he gets super worked up, a really easy way to get him to settle down, we’d put him in the toddler seat in the back of our bike and go for a ride," said Loomis. 

Last summer, bike rides as a family changed. Ryker started to get too big to ride tandem in his toddler seat behind mom or dad. Recently, they turned to their doctors at Gillette Children’s Hospital. Now, Ryker is one of nearly three dozen Gillette patients to be fitted with an adaptive bike within a single week, thanks in large part to a virtual therapeutic recreation bike shopping opportunity.

"If you have an idea or a goal in recreation, we are not going to let your disability stop you," said Gillette Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Carrie Berdan. "We are going to empower your ability instead."

A fund, which is always seeking donations, paid for the specialized wheels. Plus, Ryker’s family lucked out with a second-hand Triaid Terrier Hitch, which not only fit but allowed the Loomis family to avoid the pandemic ripple effect causing some bikes and trikes to be on back order until the end of summer. 

"When you have a kids with special needs as much as you celebrate their differences, you also just want them to be the same," said Loomis. "A piece of you just wants them to be accepted."

Strapped in and safe, plus able to convert to a tricycle for Ryker to pedal himself, this family will be enjoying miles and smiles for years to come. 

"When he goes past the other kids they say, 'Oh I want that, that’s cool!' You can tell he’s thinking, 'I’ve got something here and everybody likes it,'" said Loomis. "It makes him feel good and as a mom nothing makes you feel better than seeing your kid happy."

Each year Gillette helps fit hundreds of patients with adaptive bikes. If you are interested in donating to their fund, click here.