Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way: Dreams Come True surprises 11-year-old with ‘Freedom Bike’

Donation marks 100th dream granted in 2022

Amaya, an 11-year-old diagnosed with a rare, gene-liked brain malformation, called lissencephaly, enjoys her new Freedom Concept Tricycle donated through Dreams Come True. (Dreams Come True, Dreams Come True)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bicycles might be one of the most important parts of growing up. They represent the first true sense of freedom in childhood. The ability to hop on a bike and pedal to your friend’s house or school or to the local market is almost one of the first steps into adolescence.

They also make being a kid fun and normal. That’s why the latest dream granted by a local non-profit organization was such a surprise for one local 11-year-old.

Several Dreams Come True families join a celebration to give 11-year-old Amaya her Freedom Concept Tricycle at Twenty Mile Post in Nocatee on Saturday, June 4, 2022. (Dreams Come True)

Dreams Come True, northeast Florida’s local wish-granting organization for children battling life-threatening illnesses, surprised Amaya Harken with her new Freedom Concept Tricycle during a special gathering at Twenty Mile Post in Nocatee on Saturday, June 4. Amaya is the 100th child whose dream has been granted in 2022 through the local wish-granting organization. Before COVID-19, Dreams Come True fulfilled approximately 175 dreams per year. Dream Come True is projected to fulfill over 200 dreams before the end of 2022, which will be the highest year of dream fulfillment in the organization’s 38-year history.

Joining Dreams Come True for the celebrations were several dream families and community partner, Ainsley’s Angels, a nonprofit whose mission is focused on building awareness about the importance of inclusion, through action, while transforming populations into all-inclusive communities. Together, everyone walked and rolled around Twenty Mile Post with Amaya leading the way in her new dream bike. The special celebration ended with a donut cake from Cinotti’s Bakery and medals for all the finishers.

“I never thought it would be possible for her to ride,” stated Michelle Harken, Amaya’s mom. “I did not think they would have a bike that would be adaptable for her. For me, this is just eye-opening for her to have this experience and have this piece to help her grow and get stronger. We are so appreciative for all Dreams Come True has done for us to get Amaya this bike and be with us through this journey. This will truly last for a very long time.”

Amaya was referred to Dreams Come True after being diagnosed with a rare, gene-liked brain malformation, called lissencephaly. Amaya also suffers from additional conditions such as cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. She is wheelchair dependent, so mobility has always been something that has eluded Amaya. Her new Freedom Concept Tricycle will give Amaya a sense of freedom and fill her summer days with long strolls in the park and neighborhood.

11-year-old Amaya gives a big smile after receiving her Freedom Concept Tricycle from Dreams Come True. (Dreams Come True)

The celebration for Amaya also served as a kick-off to Dreams Come True’s 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run on September 24, 2022, at the University of North Florida’s Coxwell Amphitheatre. Her ride around Twenty Mile Post in Nocatee was an example of how Dreams Come True is encouraging everyone to come to walk, run or roll with them at UNF to raise money for the more than 600 children currently dreaming in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia.

Since 1984, Dreams Come True has been using the power of a dream to bring hope and joy to local children in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia battling life-threatening illnesses. To date, more than 4,300 children have seen their dreams turned into realities. To learn more, visit www.DreamsComeTrue.org.


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