JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Riverside-Avondale woman was surprised with a new bicycle, a Christmas gift from her family.
This gift marks a new beginning and independence for 45-year-old Shannon Alexander who grew up and spent all of her life in Jacksonville’s Riverside-Avondale neighborhood.
Alexander lost her mother, Nancy, days before Christmas last year. Nancy was Shannon’s caretaker and her world.
“It’s been a rough year for her,” said Alexander’s niece, Meghan, who has been her caretaker since Nancy passed away.
“Nana was a very big vocal point in our both of relationships with her, that’s why we meld together so well because she was very important,” Meghan Alexander said.
Also helping out has been Alexander’s entire family, including her brother Sean and her uncle Jay Smith, who donated and sold back four bicycles at a recent trade-in event at Lakeshore Bicycles.
“Shannon used to ride a recumbent bicycle as a two-wheel, but she can’t ride it any longer,” Smith said. “As you seen, she loves it. It will fit her needs well.”
Alexander said she missed riding her bike. And so, on a new purple bike, with highlights in her hair to match, Alexander is off to new adventures in 2021 as she will be moving into a group home.
“Really excited (to move),” Alexander said.
“I am super proud of her, and I am super happy for her,” her niece said. “I really hope that she’s able to finally get past the grief. She’s very social — she’s the life of the party.”
In a recent visit to the home she will be moving into, Alexander got to meet other residents and attend a holiday party.
“She was like, ‘I am just so, I am out of shape.’ She kept having to sit down. She is really excited to have friends. She is super pumped about being able to be more independent. She has done leaps and bounds,” Meghan Alexander.
Alexander’s brother Sean said this move will be a good one for his little sister. “My hope for her is she continues to grow, get some self-confidence, learn some independence.”