Kai riding the extra mile to support kids with CP

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Two years ago, Novita kid Kai Maddren couldn’t ride a bike. Today, the 10-year-old has been clocking up the kilometres to raise money for kids living with disability.

Kai has not only learned to ride a bike during the past year, he and his dad rode 100 kilometres during May as part of the Extra Mile challenge, which raises money for kids living with Cerebral Palsy (CP).

Supported by Novita’s Parafield Gardens team and other disability service providers, Kai can now ride a bike, and he says he can go on adventures with his cousins and friends.

“I’ve been riding my bike for around one year now. I had a goal of riding a bike because I really wanted to keep up with the others when we go camping,” says Kai.

“When I first rode my bike I felt really happy. I can go on adventures and ride really fast. Mum times me to see how fast I can go. I’ve been to the beach to do some bike riding, and I’ve also ridden into the city.

“I did the Extra Mile challenge to raise money for kids with CP, and I raised almost $2,000.”

Kai says he’s been working on his strength and balance with the Novita Parafield Gardens team.

“Daniel my occupational therapist has been helping me with my skills, like physical skills. He comes to see me at school every week and helps me with my fine motor skills,” he says.

Kai’s mum Catherine says Kai decided about two years ago that he wanted to learn to ride a bike.

“Until then he was really limited when other kids were riding their bikes, and he used to feel pretty sad – they would all go off on their bikes and he couldn’t keep up,” says Catherine.

“So we made it one of our goals and Kai did some really hard work trying to build up his strength, get his balance better, and also get more confident because that was something that was really tricky for him – he was really scared.

“About a year ago he started to ride and during the past year he has become more and more confident. He’s enjoying it and having lots of fun.”

Novita occupational therapist Daniel Francis says Kai is a very determined child.

“Kai loves to be involved in a variety of different things, and he really does push himself. If you say that he can’t do something he will go against the grain to prove you wrong,” says Daniel.

“He’s been a Novita kid for much of his life, and he’s been supported by the Parafield Gardens team with castings and other therapies to help develop his strength and manage the tightness in his lower limbs, as well as supporting him with his gross motor development.

“I’ve been working with Kai on his resilience and his capacity to push through frustration. For example, he doesn’t like hand-writing, and he really struggles if he has to write something by hand. But with the support of his parents and everyone, he now uses a computer, and can type faster than anyone in his class.

“I’ve also been supporting him to develop his balance and endurance, which are both important for his bike riding.

“It’s an exceptional story. Kai didn’t ride a bike two years ago, and really avoided riding bikes because it was something that was difficult for him – two years later he is doing it not only to prove to himself that he has learned a new skill and has the capacity to ride, but he’s also doing it to support research and raise awareness about Cerebral Palsy.”