Jessica Hiemstra
Toronto Artist. Writer. Designer.


Helping Hedda get the bike she deserves

This year my niece, Hedda Margaret, turned 9! She is getting big. In fact, she's getting too big for her old bike. And she needs a new one. For lots of kids that’s an easy thing, but not for Hedda. Hedda has lots of mobility needs, and can't peddle a bike like most people. She has a very rare condition called Harel-Yoon Syndrome, which means that she talks and walks differently from many people.

When I asked her Mom and Dad what I could get for her birthday, they said maybe I could contribute to the little jar they have for saving up money for a HASE PINO - a bike that Hedda can peddle and her Mom or Dad (or big brother!) can ride with her. It has the supports she needs, pedals she can use, and it's a bike that can hopefully last her lifetime!

Hedda loves the wind in her hair, being outside and moving her legs. In fact, she needs to move her legs and exercise every day just like all of us. She loves bikes. And I love her. Hedda's taught me about laughter, new ways of communicating. She's taught me so much about love. She's changed my life. And I would like to change hers too.

So I set up a Go Fund Me for Hedda and within a week, we had raised over our goal! This is nothing short of incredible. The support, kindness, and generosity for Hedda and her family has changed Hedda's family's life - not just in that Hedda is going to have the bike her family only dreamed of being able to afford for her, but the outpouring of love and support from so many people has meant that Hedda's parents know and feel that they are supported - by friends, family, strangers and neighbours. And not just supported - but supported eagerly and generously. It's as beautiful as it is overwhelming.

Here are some pictures of Hedda picking up her new wheels from the kind people at Urbane Cyclist.

Claren Grosz