Special surprise for special boy

Posted April 4, 2019 at 5:00 am

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By Julie Ann Madden

An Akron boy is the 49th recipient of an adaptive tricycle built for children with special needs.

On March 28, Karlton “Karl” Waterman, of Akron, had no idea the day would be any different than usual — a dad taking his son to his weekly therapy sessions.

But Karl and his 4-year-old son, Vincent, were in for a great surprise as Vincent was the recipient of a Josh’s Ride “bike.”

“It was a surprise,” said Karlton, noting his mother, Donna Kelley, his brother, Kody Waterman, and nephew, Carter Waterman, all of Akron, were there. Plus, Vincent’s Akron-Westfield Preschool teachers and Area Education Agency and Floyd Valley Healthcare therapists were joined by Josh’s Ride volunteers at the tricycle presentation. “We had no idea.”

“We walked up to the bike, Vincent hopped on it, grabbed the handlebars and said, ‘Go, go, go,’” said Karl. “He knew exactly what it was.”

“The bike will encourage him to be more mobile,” he said, explaining Vincent was nominated by his pediatrician, Dr. Jolene Meis. “The bike will get us out and about so we can interact with more in the town and not be home so much.”

“It will encourage him to properly take steps,” said Karl. “He’ll learn to ride a bike properly and steer it, building muscles that he lacks because he is immobile. It’s hard for him to get the exercise he needs.”

Although Vincent appeared normal at birth, at age four months, he was diagnosed with Septo-Optic Dysplasia (SOD), a rare congenital malformation syndrome featuring underdevelopment of the optic nerve, pituitary gland dysfunction, and absence of the septum pelucidum, a midline part of the brain.

Vincent has also been diagnosed with Diabetes Insipius, Adrenal Insufficiency, Hypothyroidism, Growth Hormone Deficiency, and Autism.

Vincent is visually impaired, said Karl.

Vincent’s favorite things are typical preschool activities — listening to music, playing with anything that makes noise, and riding on toys.

His favorite food right now is pancakes.

“I want to give all the credit to Josh’s Ride,” said Karl, “and the people who donate for doing these types of things.”
“Not every day do people go out of their way to do nice things for others,” he said. “So it’s just nice that people do come together and spend their hard-earned money, donating their time for something like this for kids like Vincent.”

“We don’t always have the opportunity to live a normal life,” said Karl, who is a single parent, “and have things be easy and buy things — be able to afford them — so to get things like this is a really special feeling, to have people go out of their way for us.”

Josh’s Ride is a nonprofit organization which provides Plymouth County children with special needs a tricycle adapted to their needs.

“Thank you to everybody involved in his therapies,” he said, “and to my (Premium Feed & Grain) coworkers — for picking up my slack and allowing me to do the things that are necessary for Vincent’s care.”

Vincent has weekly physical, speech and occupational therapies locally and doctor’s visits in Omaha, Neb. Plus, when he starts running a fever Karl has to miss work.

“Thank you to all,” said a very grateful dad.

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