Meet Our Winter 2023 Ainsley's Angels Family

Family photo - recipient of Ainsley's Angels Bunch Bike

Inclusion is at the heart of our mission. We're here to help make the family bike ride more accessible - for all bodies, all ages, and all abilities. 

Accessible design is one important step. Affordability is another. For families with medical and adaptive needs, we offer discount programs, monthly financing, and no-cost adaptive equipment. 

We frequently work with Medicaid waiver programs, regional centers, self-determination funding, and an array of wonderful nonprofits to help make a Bunch Bike a reality for those who might not be able to ride a "regular" bike. 

But sometimes - it's not enough. 

That's where our giveaway program comes in.

Our partnership

We meet with so many families who would greatly benefit from a Bunch Bike but just can't find a way to make it happen. 

We're proud and grateful to partner with Ainsley's Angels to try to close that gap - for at least one family at a time. 

Working with a respected nonprofit helps us conduct the giveaway in a way that is equitable, transparent and fair - and helps us connect with more families who are looking for new ways to get active with medically complex kids. 

Message to the nominees

We opened nominations Nov. 20 - Dec. 10, 2023 and received 46 applications.

Each and every entry represents a mom, dad, foster parent, relative, or dear family friend - who is doing all they can to bring more joy, freedom, and adventure to a child's life. 

We are so grateful to you for sharing your stories with us. We honor each and every one of you, and your children. 

We give special consideration to every application on behalf of a child with a disability, medical or adaptive need.

Please know that you are our inspiration. It is our hope to continue to expand our programs so that we can serve each and every one of you, and someday meet your family's needs without regard for finances. 

Presenting our recipients

We are honored to present Madden, Everett, and Ruby, and their parents Jessalyn and Morgan, with this year's Ainsley's Angels Bunch Bike.

We're delighted to give Jessalyn a new way to get around with all three kids and with the mobility and medical equipment that they need - so they can get back to exploring the neighborhood, visiting town and spending time outdoors together. 

A long wait for answers

Madden's mom, Jessalyn, knew something was wrong by the time he turned one. He learned to walk, but couldn't go more than a few steps without seeming exhausted. 

The years to come brought a battery of tests and treatments - but no answers until he was ten. That's when Jessalyn and her partner Morgan learned that Madden had congenital myasthenic syndrome, causing muscle weakness and an array of complications.

His younger brother, Everett, is typically developing. As he grew older, Jessalyn figured out ways to get around with both boys in a wagon-style stroller, or with Madden in a wheelchair and Everett on foot. 

Getting around with two

Morgan works nights, and his schedule can be tough. Jessalyn takes primary responsibility for getting around with the kids. She doesn't drive, so taking long walks and spending time outdoors are central to their lifestyle.

Jessalyn and the boys loved walking to town to visit the public library, check out the weekly summer car show, or just play outside at the park. 

When the boys were smaller, she also rode them around in a bike trailer, but Madden soon outgrew it. His condition meant he couldn't bike on his own, even after Everett started learning how - so family bike rides were out of the question. 

Jessalyn learned about Bunch Bikes around this time, but even affording regular bikes had been a struggle. A big electric cargo bike seemed financially out of the question.

A new baby - and new challenges

The boys were both delighted to welcome their baby sister in December 2022. But when Ruby was born, Jessalyn noticed she was having episodes of apnea. Soon they learned she had the same congenital myasthenic syndrome - leading to difficulty feeding and risks to her airway.

Ruby had a trach put in as an infant, requiring a ventilator, suction machine, and pulse ox monitoring, as well as a g tube which makes feeding safer but also more complex. 

Feeling isolated

Jessalyn teared up when she remembered sitting in the NICU with Ruby, "just thinking about how our family was going to change."

She said, "It was scary, because I'm used to being so independent with the boys. But I was thinking, I'm not going to be able to do anything alone with them." 

By this time, Madden was almost twelve and had completely outgrown the stroller wagon. Jessalyn didn't see how she could manage Madden's wheelchair, Ruby's stroller, and all of Ruby's medical equipment at once. This made it all but impossible to get out of the house together. 

"We just don't do the things we used to do anymore," she said. Her boys missed visiting the car show and the library, just going on adventures, and she was eager to get out and get active with her baby daughter, too. 

A new adventure

We met with Jessalyn's family by video on Friday, Dec. 15. We confirmed with her that a Bunch Bike would allow her to get around with all three kids in the big bike - or with Everett riding his own bike as he grows.

Ruby will ride in her own toddler seat, facing toward Jessalyn so her breathing can be monitored. She'll have plenty of space for her medical equipment as well.

We'll provide cushions and a headrest for Madden so that he can sit comfortably even when he is fatigued. Our standard seatbelts will work for both boys, but we will also provide a custom harness if needed as Madden grows. 

Madden's stroller-style wheelchair can be strapped to the front panel, so that the family can park the bike and enjoy a stop downtown when they arrive - with a home base on hand for their equipment and the journey home. 

Staying active and connected

During the call, Rooster Rossiter, founder of Ainsley's Angels, shared a little of Ainsley's story with Jessalyn - and he encouraged her to care for her own needs, too.

"Your kids need you to be healthy," he told us. "So take care of yourself, get out there, and get active, for your own sake." 

Looking forward to freedom

"I just can't wait," says Jessalyn. "We can go downtown again, we can visit the car show, we can pick Everett up at school - even with the two other kids and all the stuff they need."

With a cargo bike, so many trips that have become incredibly challenging and frustrating - or impossible - can go back to being fun family adventures. 

"We can even just go on a bike ride together," she says. "We used to love bike rides." 

For all families

We're delighted to get to surprise this family with a Christmas gift of new freedom, new mobility, and new adventures.

And we're just in time for another occasion too - Ruby's first birthday!

If a cargo bike would make a difference for your family - we'd love to hear from you. 

Our Inclusion Portal is a great way for us to learn more about your family's needs - and how we can help make a family bike ride accessible for you.

Read more

Read about last year's Ainsley's Angels recipient

Read about other families in our inclusion program

Follow our inclusion blog or join us on Instagram

Reading next

The Bunch Bikes DIY Scale
Family photo in Bunch Bike @twotwentyphotos

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