This is the story of an amazing boy, John William McKissick. John was born February 1, 2002. John’s mother Angie tells us that at the age of 2 ½ he was diagnosed with autism. She said “John was always very active, enthusiastic and happy.” John was a member of Crosspoint Church. He attended Camp Easterseals and played Challenger Baseball. He loved horseback riding, swimming, singing, and eating pizza.
We met John in June of 2015 when he attended iCan Bike Roanoke, VA. He was 13 years old. Angie said “John had the opportunity to learn how to ride a bike, a task that was difficult for him. With patience, and love the iCan Bike staff and volunteers took on the challenge of teaching John and other amazing kids to ride a bike. By the end of the week he was cruising around like he had been on a bike his whole life!”
Angie and her family were deeply honored as John was a recipient of one of the camp’s scholarships, a shiny new bike and helmet. John’s younger brother Isaac even got in on the action at bike camp, excitedly running around the gym cheering his brother on, encouraging him to ride.
According to Angie John had a habit of closing his eyes as he rode but he always seemed to be aware of what he was doing. He smiled and laughed and truly enjoyed the experience. Angie says, “This was a huge accomplishment for John and we were all so proud of him.”
Angie drove every day from Henry County to Roanoke, 2 hours each day, to make sure her son could attend bike camp and learn to ride a two-wheeler. “While the drive was long and tiring it was so worth every moment to see him on the bike riding, smiling and laughing. The iCan Bike staff and volunteers were so nice, enthusiastic, supportive and encouraging. They made the experience pleasant and memorable for John and for all of us. I am truly thankful we were able to give John this opportunity. We made some precious memories along the way.”
Our dear friend John McKissick passed away November 27, 2016 from a seizure in his sleep. His family was devastated, still grieving their loss. This past summer (July 2017), Angie and Isaac made the drive back to Roanoke to donate John’s bike to another camper at iCan Bike Roanoke. The McKissicks’ act of generosity ensured that another child could have a great bike, a bike of their own. Angie told us that knowing that John is helping another child experience the joy and freedom of riding brings happiness to her family. We are so grateful for the chance to get to know John and his family. He lives on in all of us that met him. Shine on John!
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