MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) — “My bike is huge,” Addison Ereth exclaimed. “Every time it’s summertime, I’m like, ‘Dad, time to get the bike out. Let’s go!’ So, I ride that constantly as much as I can.”
And Addison’s triplet siblings, Gabrielle, and Bennett, were just as thrilled for her to get the bike nearly a decade ago.
“I love doing things like active with my siblings and playing sports,” Gabrielle Ereth shared. “So, finding things that they can do like bike rides or wiffle ball has been really awesome for like us being able to hang out as a family and do things that normal like kids do with their parents and their siblings.”
“There’s just a lot of joy inside of me knowing that these two get to do things,” Bennett Ereth shared. “And I get to go along with them and just that they get to ride their bikes and they can do other things, especially her with everything she’s gone through.”
Addison’s bike, however, is not your typical bike, with a price tag of more than $6,000.
Born severely premature at 24 weeks, Addison, Bennett, and Gabrielle all suffered grade four brain bleeds, resulting in cerebral palsy for Addison and Bennett.
The only way Addison could ride a bike was if she had a bike specially designed to meet her needs.
Despite the cost, the triplets parents, Shawnda and Dana, knew after she tested a bike at therapy that having one of her own would be a game-changer. But despite the fact that the bike was more than 20 times the cost of a standard bike, they were reluctant to seek help to pay for it.
“It’s really been life-changing for her,” Shawnda Ereth explained. “But it wasn’t until that time that we even considered seeking out how because we just we felt there are people that could really benefit more than we could.”
Ultimately, they did accept help to pay for the bike, knowing how much it would benefit their child.
“Okay, a bike is adaptive equipment. It’s maybe recreational, it’s not a necessity, but it really is. For her to be just a child, a kid in the neighborhood, for her to have physical health, it is a necessity,” Shawnda said. “And it made the difference in our lives entirely.”
Shawnda also saw many, many other families struggle.
“Unfortunately, there are too many families that will have to go without and kids that will have to go without because there aren’t funds there at all for some of these things,” Shawnda explained.
Things not considered “necessary” by insurance but are viewed as necessary by individuals with cerebral palsy and other childhood onset neurological conditions, as well as their families and caregivers.
“I don’t think an adjustable bed to get your 18-year-old son or daughter out of bed should be considered an extra, you know, it shouldn’t be,” Shawnda said. “You shouldn’t have to struggle to pay for that, because somebody is physically going to get hurt. And what about their dignity? How does that make them feel, and it shouldn’t be a struggle, it just shouldn’t.”
This year, Shawnda and several other parents and community members saw a big hole that needed to be filled in order to help kids like the Ereth’s thrive.
“When the prior organization changed its mission, those of us involved saw what it did for kids and families, and we couldn’t let that go,” Shawnda said. “We couldn’t just say there’s no help for you anymore with these things because we saw the $120,000 every quarter that was being requested.”
And that is how Cpable came to be. A special group of people saw a need that needed to be met in the region, and they ran with it.
“Whether you have kids or not, maybe you’re an aunt maybe or an uncle. I don’t think any of us want kids to go without we want kids to be kids,” Shawnda said. “If that requires a set of stairs, to get into a boat, if that requires a lift, or a chair, to get into the shower by themselves. We’re trying to teach our kids every parent independence. And if these few things can help.”
And the Ereth triplets all agree that with your help, Cpable will help many, many families with the financial hardships that come with medical expenses, and more importantly, help kids with CP and other neurological conditions to simply be kids.
“I think Cpable is going to do a great job of helping other families be able to have as great of memories as we’ve had together and be able to help them in the ways that make sense and fit for their family,” Gabrielle said.
“Just being able to, like support other families that need it and be able to tell them, ‘hey, we know this, you can do it,’ like kind of just give them that support and strength,” Addison said. “It’s going to go very far. And with the amount of families that need the help, it’s going to do great things.”
“No matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone, because there are plenty of families out there that are going through what you’re going through, and I think capable is doing a great job of showing the community,” Bennett shared. “You know, there’s a lot of similarities out there, but you guys aren’t alone in this.”
One day, one dollar, one donation closer to helping a child thrive.