Elks help wheelchair-bound girl get special bike | News, Sports, Jobs

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Jorja Kressin enjoys a ride on Van Raam Opair Wheelchair Bike. Escanaba Elks Lodge #354 helped the Kressin family obtain the bike.

ESCANABA — The Escanaba Elks Lodge #354 was able to help a local family meet a goal to get a new bike for their daughter, Jorja. The Kressin family had been trying to raise funds to be able to purchase a Van Raam Opair Wheelchair Bike.

The Opair is a wheelchair bike with which you can transport a wheelchair user. A seat for the wheelchair user/passenger is affixed to the front of the bike. From the back, the cyclist has an overview on the road and view on the passenger. On the split frame version, the front part is easy to remove from the cycling component, which enables use as a wheelchair on location. The slightly angled front wheels provide increased driving comfort and stability.

“She was born with Hydrocephalus which she had to have brain surgery at 3 months old,” said Melissa, Jorja’s mother. At 9 month old, on Christmas Eve, she had a grand mal seizure which have not been able to be completely controlled since. Doctors told us she would never walk, talk, or do anything so we needed to figure out how to deal with it. Thankfully she began walking at 8 years old. We traveled weekly to Marquette for outpatient therapy in order to make this happen. Her current diagnosis are seizure disorder, severe multiply handicap (SXI) and hydrocephalus.”

Cindy Groleau, Escanaba Elks Lodge Major Projects chairperson, saw that the family was trying to do some local fundraising to achieve the bike. She reached out to the Major Projects Commissioner to see what could be done to help the family. Upon doing so, she learned that the Major Project Commission expanded their program to include adults by creating “Marching Forward!”.

This new program offers individual cases, camp experiences, technology, equipment, Emergency Fund Grants, Lodge Reimbursement Grants, and Community Outreach program funding for special needs adults 18 years and older. The Kressin family, with the help of the Escanaba Elks Lodge #354, was the first recipient of the Marching Forward and secured funding for the family to reach their

financial goal and purchase the Opair Wheelchair Bike.

The Kressin family has been able to enjoy spending time biking with their whole family’

If you or a family you know is in need, contact Cindy Groleau at c_groleau@yahoo.com.

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