By Jessica Bolen
Ross Huddleson is a faithful consumer of The Independence Center’s east office located at the fairgrounds of Calhan. He lives with Parkinson’s Disease, a slowly progressive disorder of the nervous system that causes difficulty in regulating body movements. Because he is unable to drive and there is no bus service in Calhan, his only mode of transportation is walking. Walking in Calhan is no easy feat, partially due to it’s sprawled out, hilly country landscape; partially due to fluctuations in weather. Nevertheless, Ross takes care of his errands and visits by foot. He also visits his Independent Living Specialist, Fran Dorrance, at The IC office frequently, even in the snow.
Fran and Ross ran across a few articles that mentioned the healing benefits of bicycling for people with Parkinson’s. Intrigued, they decided to pursue obtaining a bicycle for Ross. The benefit of a bicycle would be two-fold: to help combat the degeneration of Parkinson’s and to help Ross with his transportation needs.
Fran set up Ross with Paul Spotts, Assistive Technology Specialist at The Independence Center, to help obtain funding for an adaptive bicycle and helmet. Funding was granted and Ross was fitted by Biketricity for a brand new adaptive trike with motor. The trike helps Ross maintain stability despite balance issues, while the motor is available for use when Ross tires.
Ross’ new mobility has freed him. “When he first got on it, we had to get in a car and chase him down.” Fran recalls with a laugh.
“When I go someplace now it doesn’t take me a half hour to get there,” Ross says. Both Fran and Ross also mention that Ross’ coordination of movements has improved after riding.
“We’ve all noticed a huge difference. We really have. The therapy part of the trike has been very beneficial,” Fran says as she smiles at Ross.
Consumers of The Independence Center with assistive technology needs are encouraged to contact Paul Spotts at (719) 471-8181 ext. 122.