NIC DE CAIRE, SPECIAL TO THE NEWS JOURNAL
Most of us take movement for granted. We are able to get out of bed and go about our day how we choose.
Some of us decide to fit in exercise during our daily activities, but most don’t. More than 20 states have an obesity rate above 30 percent. Delaware is among them.
That scares me. It should scare you, too.
Every day, I’m trying to change lives through fitness. I ask my clients to work just a little harder. I ask them to eat just a little healthier.
And honestly, for the most part, they take it all for granted. Heck, I used to even take it for granted.
Until last fall.
The day of the Main Street Mile, I was hurrying to get the race started when a young boy gave me pause.
He was there that rainy morning to participate, just like everyone else. The only difference was he was on a three-wheeled adaptive bike with hand cranks.
I was about to start the race, but I kept looking at him. The only thing I could focus on was his smile. While most runners and walkers looked like they wanted to get this mile over with because of the weather, he did not.
After introducing myself to him and his parents, I found out his name was Andrew. I asked about his awesome bike and found it had been donated to him a year earlier by an organization called Preston’s March for Energy.
PMFE was created by Deb Buenaga and her husband, Steve. It is named after their son, Preston, who has a mitochondrial disease, which leaves him with low muscle tone and developmental delays.
PMFE was created with one goal in mind – to provide adaptive bikes to children with special needs.
We all know that childhood obesity is a problem in this country. Unfortunately, among children with functional limitations that affect their physical activity, nearly 81 percent are overweight or obese.
The children who are receiving these bikes don’t skip exercise because they have better things to do. They don’t have the resources. The equipment is expensive and not easily accessible. An adaptive bike costs, on average, about $1,800.
This is something that I did not realize until I became more involved with PMFE.
Each year at Fusion Fitness, we pick six local nonprofits to benefit from our fitness charity challenges.
After meeting Andrew, my team at Fusion decided we needed to pay it forward and raise enough money to purchase one of these bikes during our next challenge.
It started out with the goal of raising enough to buy an adaptive bike for a young boy named Hayden. But over the course of the next month, it became so much more.
At the end, the thing I was most proud of was not that the members exceeded our goal of $1,800 – we raised $7,200 – but the fact that four children will now have the opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle because they have equipment to make it happen.
The day of the Main Street Mile, I walked with Andrew’s family for the majority of the race while he rode.
As we approached the finish line you could see Andrew pick up his speed. You could feel the excitement.
Even though he was not the first to cross the finish line, the cheers told a different story.
Watching a child ride a bike for the first time is an amazing experience. Watching a child with special needs ride a bike for the first time is pure joy. This is a gift most of us take for granted.
I challenge each of us to use our gifts to live a healthier lifestyle and maybe even change some lives in the process.
Nic DeCaire, owner of Fusion Fitness Center in Newark, has been training clients for more than a decade.