Don’t be deceived by the appearance of the sleek and shiny three-wheel bike with the Jaguar pennant waving in the breeze.
While it appears to be a ready ride fit for 16-year-old Kayla Weaver, it’s really a bicycle built for seven.
With the gift from Make-A-Wish Foundation of Mississippi, Kayla is ready to hit the road with her dad, mom and sister plus her uncle, aunt and cousin when they all head for Natchez Trace or other biking trails.
“This is giving us an opportunity to do something as a family,” dad Ken Weaver said.
For the seventh year in a row, Madison Central students raised thousands of dollars for Make-A-Wish. This year, the $6,500 they donated not only goes to help Kayla, one of their own, but will also go toward granting another child’s wish.
“We appreciate all the work and effort you put in to raising the money. I just can’t say enough,” Ken told the packed gymnasium last week when the school presented the check to Make-A-Wish officials and Kayla got to show off her biking skills.
Blowing kisses to her friends, Kayla kept pedaling faster and faster in tight circles around the gym to the cheers of the student body.
“It’s awesome,” Kayla told the students.
Kayla, who is in her first year at Madison Central, has cerebral palsy, a disability that keeps her from participating in many of the activities that the average 16-year-old does, her dad said.
The recumbent three-wheeler should help take care of that.
“She loves to get out in the community, and she’s all about friends,” Ken said. “She loves going fast.”
Chances are that her 10-year-old sister Hannah, a fifth-grader at Madison Station Elementary, will have to pedal faster to keep up. “Hannah likes to go slow, but Kayla wants to go faster,” he said.
The bike, which came from Ride South, can be pedaled independently by Kayla or be attached to the frame of her dad’s bike.
Ken and his brother, Randy Weaver, started biking for exercise six months ago. Up until now, Kayla and her mom Cindy have had to stay behind.
Cindy said she’s going to need her own bike to join the outings now available to the whole family.
“Now the whole family can go out at full speed,” Randy Weaver said.
Paul Jones, president of Make-A-Wish, said each granted wish brings hope, strength and joy - watchwords of the organization - not just to the children with life-threatening medical conditions but to grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends.
“Kayla came into the world facing overwhelming medical circumstances. She had a 2 percent chance of survival at birth,” her father said. “Her story is one of hope, strength and joy.”
Jones commended the Madison Central students for their dedication to Make-A-Wish over the past seven years.
“This makes it more special, that it’s going to one of our own,” principal Edith Mitchell said.