Veronica's Tricycle

As pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, one of the privileges we have each year is to visit the heroes in the pediatric wards of local hospitals.  A few years ago, we met Veronica Avery, a little girl undergoing nearly 3 months of rehabilitation at Tampa General Hospital after major surgery.  

When we met her in the hospital, we gave her a pirate patch and some beads.  She lost that patch 3 months later and was traumatized.  Her parents were able to track us down, and we met up with Veronica and her family to give her a new patch and some more pirate treasure.  According to her parents, she has grown to love all things pirate related.  She still has that patch on her wheelchair and is always worried when modifications are made to her wheelchair that it'll be taken away.  She holds a special place in the hearts of our Krewe members, and we offered to help if it was ever needed.

Well, our help is needed. 

Thanks to that surgery, Veronica is finally beginning to learn to ride a special tricycle at school and therapy. She asks all the time if she can take it home.  Insurance won't pay for her to have a tricycle of her own and the base price for the kind she's learning to ride is nearly $2000.  She just wants to ride around in her neighborhood with her big sister and her friends.  We would like to raise enough money to purchase one of these tricycles for Veronica so that she can enjoy something many of us took for granted as kids.  We would further like to customize the tricycle to make it look "piratey".  

Here is a brief bio of Veronica penned by her father...

"Veronica was adopted in Lakeland, FL and continues to live there.   From what we’ve managed to piece together, she was born at approximately 25 weeks, and tested positive for large amounts of cocaine.  At just a few days old, she suffered a brain bleed and had to have 2 blood transfusions.  The bleed left her with a form of brain damage known as periventricular leukomalacia, or PVL. People afflicted with PVL are usually also diagnosed with either epilepsy, or in Veronica’s case Cerebral Palsy, specifically bilateral quadrispastic cerebral palsy.  In short, all of her muscles were pulling all of the time.  They were pulling so hard that her bones began to come out of their sockets.  The oral medication she was taking to relax her muscles was becoming less and less effective.  At 3 years old we were given an ultimatum; either implant a refillable medicine pump in her tummy to help curb her symptoms or try to address some of the causes of her symptoms through a risky spinal surgery.  We opted for the spinal surgery, and that decision has proven to be a great one.

Over time, she’s been able to gain more and more control over her limbs and her bones have been able to correct themselves.  She’s now potty trained and she can walk with the help of a walker.  She’s enrolled in a regular 1st grade class and makes A/B honor roll.  At school and physical therapy, she’s been introduced to a Rifton adaptive tricycle.  She loves it.  Sadly, they are expensive; in her case between $1,800 and $2,200.

Veronica is a friendly & outgoing little 6 yr old.   She loves the freedom of riding and feeling grown up. However, her big dream is to be able to ride around our neighborhood with her big sister, Anne(8).  She's able to walk with a walker and uses her wheelchair a lot. Unlike those devices, riding a bike like her friends and sister makes her feel "so cool!"  Veronica said when she gets her new bike she will talk to it and take it for lots of rides so that it doesn't get lonely. We live on a cul-de-sac in a quiet neighborhood, so she's got a safe place to enjoy her bike, and lots of great Florida sunshine to keep her smiling. We are eager to see how much a tricycle aids her stride, builds her core strength, and helps her feel more normal. She's all excited and ready to go."

Let's make this happen for this little girl.  Thank you for your generosity.

 - Shamus Warren


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Shamus Warren 
Tampa, FL
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