Bo gets his bike: Community contributes to Bo’s dream

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thanks to community donations, Bo Boyd, a young man with Angelman Syndrome, can finally ride his special needs bike with his mother Betty High.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

Thanks to community donations, Bo Boyd, a young man with Angelman Syndrome, can finally ride his special needs bike with his mother Betty High.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Friday, 34-year-old Bo Boyd of Poplarville received a special delivery that will allow him to participate in an activity many able-bodied children and adults take for granted, riding a bike.
When Boyd first laid his eyes on his new yellow special needs bicycle, his excitement overwhelmed him, his mother Betty High said.
In March, the Item interviewed Boyd and his family. They spoke of the young man’s love for bike riding. However, due to circumstances beyond his control, Boyd is unable to ride a non-special needs bike.
Prior to his tenth birthday, Boyd was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, a rare neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in one in 15,000 births. Characteristics of AS include developmental delay, lack of speech, seizures and walking and balance disorder, according to
AS is often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or autism, which is what happened to Boyd, High said in a previous interview. He didn’t take his first steps until two days before his tenth birthday.
During his lifetime, Boyd suffered mini strokes, which affected his esophagus so he has trouble swallowing. He also trouble with the circulation in his legs and damaged vocal chords, previous coverage states.
However, Boyd does not let AS stop him from enjoying life’s pleasures. High said her son enjoys putting together puzzles, watching movies, singing, dancing, sitting on the porch waving at traffic, attending church and participating in outdoor activities.
Prior to Friday, Boyd was unable to ride a bike. He is unable to push the pedals and get off and on a non-special needs bike by himself.
But now, thanks to the generosity of donors throughout Pearl River County, Boyd can ride a bike.
In early April, the family hosted a bake sale to raise funds for Boyd’s bike and established an account in Boyd’s name at Hancock Bank. Through this sale and private donations, High and her family raised more than $1,100, about half the cost of the bike.
High said two local civic organizations also reached out to her family, the Kiwanis Club of the Greater Picayune Area and the Poplarville Women’s Club.
The Women’s Club donated $400 and the Kiwanis Club volunteered to contribute the remaining balance needed to purchase the bike, which totaled about $830, High said.
Finally, High had the means to purchase a special needs bike for her son.
Boyd’s new bike, which is a tricycle, has two adjustable seats, which feature a safety restraint for Boyd. Since the seats are adjustable, the family will be able to find the perfect setting so Boyd’s legs can comfortably reach the pedals.
There is also a basket on the back of the bike.
To Boyd’s delight, family members added a bright blue horn, a bright orange flag and a “Bubba” to the bike’s décor.
The sun shone brightly Friday afternoon as Boyd took the first of many rides on his new bike. He waved, smiled and cheered as family members watched in elation.
Family friend Rhonda Byrd coordinated fundraising efforts and baked most of the items for the bake sale. Byrd is no stranger to fundraising events, she has hosted them for the past 18 years and said this particular one was the best.
“I’ve known Bo his whole life,” she said. “He means the world to me. It feels like we’ve won the lottery.”
High said her feelings were indescribable.
“His reaction is enough,” she said. “It’s unforgettable. He’s happy, very happy. It shouldn’t be that hard for special needs people to get a bike, but it is.”
If the time comes where Boyd cannot ride his new bike anymore, High said she will donate it to another child with AS. High and Byrd plan to host a walk in Poplarville next year to raise awareness for AS.
“When you don’t know about something, you don’t understand,” she said. “I want the whole town to know so Bo won’t feel uncomfortable. “
High said she and Boyd would like to thank everyone who contributed to Boyd’s bike from the bottom of their hearts.
“He’s not a shut-in any longer,” she said. “This opens the world to him. He’s not just stuck in the house. Look out world, here we come.”

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