The Springfield Sparkle team recently welcomed a new addition to its family. A tricycle, with its glossy red finish, was designed specifically for special needs children and is Joey Ricci's new staple.
"When that bike rolled out, I was over flowing with emotions from surprise (to) shock to amazement when Joey peddled on his own" Joey's mother Karen Ricci said.
The bike will be used by Joey during Sparkle Team routines and competition performances. Aside from that, special education students at Young Elementary will also be using it during physical therapy sessions.
The bike helps children gain freedom, strength, and build endurance.
"I am hoping this will give Joey some more typical kid activity, while working out his legs without him even knowing," Karen Ricci said. "With his Mitochondrial Disease, his endurance and energy levels are nonexistent at times, you know it's a good day when you see those hands flapping a mile a minute with excitement."
Originally, the bike was introduced to Joey's family as a surprise. Immediately, Joey ran to the bike. He seems to enjoy riding the bike during cheer events.
"When Joey is on his bike, he has the biggest smile on his face and he is so happy," Springfield cheerleader Sydney Corbin said. "He learned how to use the bike very quick. Seeing him on his bike makes me feel so happy because he has never been able to ride a bike and this bike makes it possible for him. Joey is such an inspiration."
The tricycle is made especially for special needs children. It includes a hand bar in the back to allow staff to help him steer and special pedals to make pedaling easier for Joey.
"A lot of thought was put into the accessories needed for the tricycle that would best benefit students" said Coach Terry Kyser.
Funds for the bicycle have been donated by the Lakemore Army/Navy club.
Joey can be seen riding the bike during cheer competitions and boys basketball games.