As parents, we want nothing more than to see our children reach their potential, to feel the joys of independence, and to believe they can do anything!
That’s what YOU make possible, every time you give to St.Amant Foundation.
In July, our nine-year-old son, Feranmi, accomplished a goal we were starting to believe was impossible. He learned to ride a two-wheeled bike at the iCanShine Bike Camp in Winnipeg, which was designed for children with learning and developmental challenges.
Feranmi has autism, and for two previous summers I tried to teach him. I remember saying, “If I have to dress him up like a spaceman in bubble wrap to overcome his fear of falling, I will, because I’m going to teach him to ride a bike.”
We desperately wanted Feranmi to be included in this favourite family activity. I tried to show him how to balance, but it always ended in a meltdown. He was so afraid to fall. Then, my wife Margaret got an email from St.Amant Foundation about the bike camp. It’s one of the foundation’s goals, to support people to be included in meaningful recreation.
We decided this was the best chance for Feranmi to learn this skill and be included in our family bike adventures.
I drove five-and-a-half hours with him from Swan River to Winnipeg for the five-day camp; provided free to families who count on generous donors like YOU all year round.
By day three at bike camp, Feranmi was on a regular two-wheeled bike in the gym. On the Thursday, he was riding on asphalt and by Friday, he was riding outside, all by himself!
I cried. I felt pride and joy. And I’ve never made so many videos!
It didn’t always feel this hopeful. Feranmi was born three months early and we spent a lot of time in the neonatal intensive care unit. Through regular medical checkups we noticed that Feranmi seemed to have some developmental delays.
When he was three, he was content to play on his own and stick to himself. He didn’t make eye contact or speak with words.
Since I tend to be a bit of a loner, I was of the opinion that there wasn’t an issue. My wife Margaret noticed more.
When the diagnosis came that Feranmi fit the patterns of autism and is on the spectrum, it was a tough pill to swallow.
Back then, we lived in Winnipeg and enrolled Feranmi in the autism early learning program at St.Amant.
Before too long, he began adapting and making gradual gains. Margaret was excited because he was pointing out and identifying objects.
After we moved to Swan River, the support from St.Amant continued.
We kept at it, and tried to use his interests to motivate him to talk. Now, we’re trying to get him to tone it down!
St.Amant Foundation provides hope to families like ours and your generous support makes this possible.
Feranmi started grade three this fall at our community school. He’s so smart and friendly; very sensitive and empathic.
The moment I get home at the end of the day, Feranmi comes rushing upstairs, saying, “Okay, Daddy. When are we going bike riding?” When I’m out riding with Feranmi and his sister, Mosum, who’s six, we’re so happy.
Our family is making the memories we are today because of donors like YOU. There are many families out there waiting for the same opportunities, and your support can make these dreams possible.
Please give to St.Amant Foundation today. Thank you.
P.S. Your gift will bring hope and independence to more people who need your generosity to live their best lives. You can donate online at stamant.ca/donate.