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Eight-year-old with special needs hopes you'll give him a vote to win an adaptive bicycle

Posted at 6:17 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 20:17:22-05

PEORIA — For eight-year-old Carter Howard, life can be a struggle.

"He does speech therapy, occupational therapy, he's done music therapy, feeding therapy, all kinds of therapies to help him be as independent as possible," said Carter's mom, Cynthia.

Carter is autistic and largely nonverbal. With so much time spent in therapy, working hard to better his future, enjoying the fruits of that labor are all that much more important.

"He's probably the hardest working kid out there, he works thirty hours outside of school a week learning life skills so for us it's important to have him balance that with recreational activities too," said Cynthia.

Carter love to swim, dance and just be a kid. He's especially smitten when he sees his sister on her bike.

"She'll ride that bike and she'll get going really fast and you an just see him take off after her, and he'll be like, 'Wohoo,' trying to catch her," said Cynthia.

Unfortunately, Carter doesn't have the motor skills to ride his own. That's when the family began looking at adaptive bikes for children with special needs. Their hopes quickly dashed when they saw the price tag.

"It's almost a car, a used car. It's a lot of money and something out of our range," said Levi, Carter's dad.

Four to five thousand dollars is out of most people's price range. That's when they discovered Friendship Circle's annual Great Bike Giveaway.

"It is a competition where you can get the bike one of two ways, so you can win the most votes to get the bike that's in your particular category, or you can fund raise to pay for the bike," said Cynthia.

The nonprofit is giving away dozens of adaptive bicycles to kids like Carter across the nation, but he needs your help. His family is creating a fund raising page, hoping you'll find the heart to give a boost with your votes or dollars.

"I picture joy. Him laughing, smiling, all of us having a good time on our bikes riding around. Something we've never been able to do as a family," said Levi. "If the community could help us out in any way they can, it would mean so much to our family. You really would make our dreams come true."

If you'd like to vote for Carter or give him a donation toward a bike, click here.