And So It Begins

“It all started a little shy of 3 1/2 years ago. We had been living in Chase’s room in the Rehab unit at Gillette’s for about 2 months.  Taking turns commuting home to see Tanner and Ava, while the other spent the night with Chase. Every time I pulled into the neighborhood and rounded the second turn on Bobcat Trail – a vision would take over me…  The vision of Chase, sitting forward on his yellow bike, the front twisted tire pointed right towards the house, his right knee up prepped for takeoff….. That 3-mile smile from ear to ear, hands gripped firm on the little bars, looking over his right shoulder, he was ready to thrust into action.  When I pulled up next to him on the street, Bam!-his head started jockeying back and forth while his bike bobbed from side to side from the training wheels that were bouncing off the sidewalk. Those little legs moving faster than they were meant to… “I’m gonna beat ya dad!  I’m gonna win!” his little voice screamed in delight……….

Seconds later, I pulled up to the quiet, empty driveway, I would once again realize this was just a distant memory, unlikely to happen again ……or was it?

Adaptive bike

I remember it as if it was yesterday. -The first time I saw Chaser on that Freedom Concepts bike at Gillette’s hospital…… I stepped past the guard station, looked down the hall, and there it was.   Lisa was heading towards me pushing Chase on a bike. I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Chase was sitting upright with his legs moving with the pedals.  My little dude was riding a bike again!  I had to to be part of this!  After pushing him around the fourth floor for 30 minutes or so I told Lisa, “we have to get one of these!”  So we asked one of his therapists where we could get this and if insurance paid for it. “No, insurance doesn’t cover it, and they are very expensive!”  Well, it turns out they are Very expensive.  The cost is much more than some extra spending cash.  After meeting other families on Facebook all over the country in situations similar to ours, we found that most of their children were not fortunate enough to experience riding this incredible bike.  Most did not know it exists.  And then it hit me- I call it a divine intervention, you can call it a light bulb came on, whatever…….” What if we could raise some money and give these to other people in our situation?” Lisa and I chatted about it many times.  If we could somehow raise money, we could share this life changing experience with other parents out there!  We put the idea on hold to focus on our own situation.

A few months later we were introduced to another amazing product.  A family we had recently met gave us an UpSee that they had purchased for their little guy-whom God had called home earlier than any of us, would have liked. (Thank you Mel, Derek and Angel Linc!) After seeing Chase walk again in the UpSee, I absolutely lost it! This tough guy was a complete puddle of tears.  My little dude, who according to the experts would never leave the hospital, was walking around in my living room!  That was it!  It was time to stop these, “some day I wish” conversations and do something.  This idea was not going to join the many “I wish I would have ….” ideas that litter my past. We were going to find a way to share this feeling of Hope with others in similar situations.  We didn’t know what or how, but we knew God would take care of that part of it.  It was on my birthday 2 years back that those household conversations took a definitive change in direction and became real.   We proposed starting a foundation at dinner with our good friends, and on that night we all agreed to make a commitment to help give these life changing experiences to others. After months of research, emails, calls, hours of brainstorming and meetings, we were able to get a plan in place to solidify this adventure together.  On July 17th we received our non-profit, 501(c)3 letter of certification. I want all of you to know how much we appreciate the support you have given Chase and our entire family throughout this journey.  You also need to know that your support plays a very large part of this foundation coming about. You taught us how much people care.  How kind words, gestures from a complete stranger can pick you up and motivate you.  Fellow warriors you can take pride in knowing that your kind actions towards our family will multiply and we will pay it forward.  We know how blessed we are, and that there are many people out there that have little or no support system. Lisa and I, along with our good friends on the board hope to change that……

In Honor of Chase Lykken, and motivated by all of You, I would like to introduce you to- Chase’s Warrior Foundation.”