“We are the proud parents of a beautiful 9 year old named Cole who happens to suffer from autism. Cole attended bike camp just last week through the Fox Valley Park District in Aurora, IL through Fox Valley Special Recreation Association. Prior to enrolling Cole to camp he wouldn’t get within 10 feet of his bicycle. We were very hesitant to register him because we thought he would kick and scream the entire week and it would be a complete waste of time and money. How wrong were we? Day one he was nervous and didn’t want to but he fought through it and pedaled a bike for over an hour – more than he had done his entire life. Day two he was hesitant but went without a struggle and continued to learn some amazing life lessons as well as riding a bike. Day three he was literally skipping into the Recreation Center and wanted to get out to his bike. Day four he rode about 10 feet on two wheels all by himself. Day five he said he didn’t want to go home. What a transformation!

However, towards the end of camp he had a meltdown because he didn’t want to get on his actual bike. However, FVSRA staff and the iCan Shine staff helped him off the ledge and he rode his TWO WHEEL bike for about 30 feet by himself and I was in tears. The only expectations my wife and I had at the end of this camp was that he would consider looking at his bike and possibly ride around the block on his training wheels. Those expectations began to change on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We started to understand how amazing this program was, the confidence it was giving Cole on his bike and, just as important, it was a reminder to mom and dad how amazing our son is and how he can accomplish anything with hard work and a ton of support! Cole overcomes obstacles, as do all children with a disability, every day.

The iCan Shine program and Fox Valley Special Recreation Association should be very proud of themselves and what they are doing for all the families that attended this program. It truly meant more than riding a bike to our family. It was a great reminder for us to focus on all the things Cole can do in lieu of all the things he may never be able to do. Today is riding a bike, tomorrow may be driving a car or living on his own! Keep up the great work!!!!!!”