Illinois Bike Store Provides Adaptive Bikes for Children with Spina Bifida

Children with spina bifida often have paralysis and mobility problems. An Illinois bike store changed this by providing these children with adaptive bikes.

Viral Giveaway Sparks Outreach for Children with Spina Bifida

Seven children will receive new adaptive bicycles as a result of generous donations. One of the recipients is 6-year-old Dayna Cuervo, whose spina bifida prevents her from riding a traditional bicycle. Each year, the Bike Rack in St. Charles, Illinois, gives away a specially configured bicycle to a child in need. This year, a Facebook post about this initiative went viral and more donors stepped forward. One-by-one, all seven entrants with special physical needs received enough donations to purchase a customized bicycle.

Families Living with Spina Bifida in the United States 

Every year, between 1,500 and 2,000 children are born with spina bifida, which occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly. It can affect the baby’s brain, spinal cord, and the tissues that enclose them. An estimated 166,000 people in the United States live with this disability.

There are four types of spina bifida. Occulta is the mildest and most common form and occurs when one or more vertebrae are malformed. Between 10-20 percent of spina bifida cases fall into this category.

The second type is Closed Neural Tube Defects, which includes spinal cord damage caused by malformations of fat, bone, or meninges (the membranes that surround the spinal cord). Most cases have few or no symptoms, but it can cause incomplete paralysis and urinary and bowel dysfunction.

The third type is called Meningocele, where spinal fluid and meninges protrude through an opening in the spine. Some people with meningocele have few or no symptoms, while others experience complete paralysis and bladder and bowel dysfunction.

The fourth and most severe form of spina bifida is Myelomeningocele. It occurs when the spinal cord and neural elements protrude through an opening in the spine. This results in partial or complete paralysis and bladder and bowel dysfunction.

What Causes Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida usually occurs in the first few weeks of pregnancy, before a woman knows she’s pregnant. It has a number of causes, including exposure to toxic chemicals. Studies have linked spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and spina bifida to paternal exposure to   some herbicides. A compound used in some herbicides, like2,4,5-T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid), are teratogenic contaminants linked to stillbirths and birth defects in laboratory rats.

Pesticides and pollutants have been linked to a 450 percent increase in the risk of spina bifida and anencephaly in rural China. Two pesticides that have been found in high concentrations in the placentas of those affected include: 1) endosulfan, which is being phased out in the U.S. for treating cotton, potatoes, tomatoes and apples and 2) lindane that was recently banned in the U.S. for treating barley, corn, oats, rye, sorghum and wheat seeds.

There has also been a strong association between spina bifida and high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are byproducts of burning oil and coal.

How We Help Birth Defects Victims

Our alliance of birth defects victims have represented people like you affected by birth defects caused by toxic exposure, aggressively fighting the corporate giants who failed to protect vulnerable workers. If you or a loved one was exposed to chemicals while pregnant and now have a child who suffers from a life-altering birth defect like spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, or cerebral palsy, we can help.