Posted on 8th Jun 2023
Raphael is a 2.5-year-old dynamo with an infectious love for life and an absolute thirst for adventure. Raphael, with an affinity for his toys and a passion for biking, is a beacon of determination and tenacity. Despite being born with a limb difference, a discovery that came as a surprise to his mother Linda at 21 weeks, Raphael is proving that no obstacle is too great to overcome.
“I’ve seen that. But I’ve always thought you would never happen to, as you would,” recounts Linda. She didn’t let this unexpected turn deter her. Today, she describes her son as a little firecracker who’s regularly beating his older brother on his bike and fitting into his world like a hand in a glove.
In the heart of his daily routine, whether it’s going to parks, attending playgroups, or playing with family members, riding his bike always takes centre stage. “Ever since we received that bike, we haven’t got off. Little Raphael and his brother go out and ride their bikes together every day,” shares Linda.
Raphael’s journey with Freedom Wheels began when Linda discovered us through the NDIS website. Despite initial concerns about Raphael’s size, Linda insisted we give him a try. “He’s riding like a superstar, and we’ve been riding every day for about two months now,” she reveals.
The impact of the Freedom Wheels bike on Raphael’s life has been profound. Confidence, trust, and stability have blossomed in this young rider. His balance has improved remarkably, and he’s mastering his road safety and coordination skills. In Linda’s words, “When he gets on his bike, he just gets on and off he goes!”
Seeing her son riding with so much joy and independence fills Linda’s heart with pride. “He shouldn’t be labelled as different, and think ‘I can’t do it’. At home, we say together “keep going, keep going,” she says. Raphael and his brother often ride together, with Raphael invariably leading the pack.
To Linda, and undoubtedly to Raphael, his bike symbolises freedom. “He can do anything. No limits. He’s just like every other kid that can ride their bike down the street.” Through the lens of this empowering narrative, Raphael and his mother challenge preconceived notions of difference and ability.
Raphael’s story serves as a reminder of the mission at the heart of Freedom Wheels: enabling every child, regardless of their physical circumstances, to experience the joy and independence of riding their own bike. Raphael’s story embodies this mission and inspires us to continue to push boundaries and strive for inclusivity and freedom in every pedal stroke.