Partially paralyzed teen rides handcycle
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida teen paralyzed after he was shot while riding his bike joined other spinal cord injury patients for a little recreational therapy.
Fifteen-year-old Aaron Willis never thought he would be making his journey through life like this. But not only is he embracing it, he is making the best of it.
Willis said life goes on for him, and even though it hasn't turned out like he imagined, he's enjoying the ride by getting on a handcycle. "It's different than riding a regular bike, but it still goes fast," he said. "I like that."
Willis was shot in the back while riding his bicycle in Wynwood. He was left paralyzed from the waist down, so instead of pedaling with his feet, he pedals with his hands. "It makes me feel good because I couldn't even get out of bed by myself," he said. "Now I can get on a bike by myself."
Willis discovered that he's not alone. In fact, he's been meeting other people in similar circumstances through his therapy at Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital. "It feels good to know there are other people out there that got shot or got injured like me," he said. "I'm not the only one going through something like this."
Patients are learning to do what they've always done, but with some minor adjustments. "Safety skills in barbecuing, the City of Miami Parks brings their handcycles, so they're able to ride their bikes," said recreational therapist Cathy Herring.
The outing also gives caregivers a chance to learn along with their loved ones. "The physical therapies teach the person who's injured and the giver how to do all the daily activities, so I've learned a lot from them, being hands-on," said Barbara Beltran, who is married to a patient.
That way, no matter what their limitation may be, they always cross the finish line.
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