*Originally posted to Shawna’s blog on 27 January 2018 *
I’m getting a handcycle!
A little background…
If you’ve been following me for a while, you may know that I have recently received a confirmed diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis (MG). I’ll go into more about WHAT this fun little disease is all about in a future blog post. But basically, it’s a neuromuscular autoimmune that causes muscle weakness. For me, the major muscles affected are those in my legs, my diaphragm, and the mouth/throat muscles responsible for eating/swallowing/speaking.
What this means, is that for the last 6 years, I have not been able to be active – no running or biking. Over the summer last year, I was able to try a hand cycle. My upper body (aside from the diaphragm causing some mild breathing difficulties) is unaffected. I could ride a bike again!!! Ever since, I have been on a mission to acquire a hand cycle. However, hand cycles are a bit cost prohibitive with most mainstream ones starting at about $2,000.
Fast forward to November of last year (2017) when I was approached by Julie of The Homeland Heroes Foundation and asked if I would be interested in submitting an application to potentially be awarded a hand cycle. Of course I said yes!!! As part of this award however, the recipient would be required to participate in the Run for the Troops 5K in April. But we wouldn’t be running – we’d be in our hand cycle.
The first week of January I was notified that I was 1 of 2 recipients chosen to be awarded a hand cycle. These hand cycles (at least mine) is being sponsored by Schneider-Electric. Through Julie’s hard work with making it possible to have this opportunity to race in the Run for the Troops (which raises money for Homes for Our Troops), I have been given the gift of independence and the ability to be active again.
I was able to select what kind of hand cycle I wanted and it is being custom made for me based on my height/weight and needs. I am INCREDIBLY excited to be getting a Lasher ATH. It’s a hand cycle made for riding trails which is what is mostly available in my area.
About the Organizations
The Homeland Heroes Foundation is a non-profit organization based in New Hampshire. They provide ongoing re-acclamation support to active duty military, veterans and their families. This comes in the form of housing assistance, job search help, housewares and furniture acquisition through donations and so much more. For more information on their mission, please visit their website. http://homelandheroesfoundation.org/about-us.html
Run for the Troops is an event that was created to raise money for Homes for our Troops build homes engineered for the specific unique needs of our severely injured soldiers. In addition to raising funds to benefit Homes for Our Troops, their mission has expanded to support veteran services provided by Ironstone Farms, Brides Across America and Veterans Northeast Outreach Center.