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A cause close to home

GABR funds benefit Watford City family
Sierra Frick is gaining independence and making strides toward reaching her potential with the help of equipment made possible through funding from the Sanford Health Great American Bike Race, also known as GABR.

The conventional walker she had been borrowing from the school system required someone to hold on to her while she attempted to walk or stand. Her new Walkabout gait trainer fully supports the 6-year-old through a system of springloaded straps, so she can walk and stand without assistance, enabling her to practice a normal walking pattern while strengthening associated muscles.

“The very first day, she was cruising the halls at Sanford Health by herself,” said Melissa, her mother.

The Walkabout gait trainer is one of a variety of items the Watford City family has purchased with funds raised through GABR. They have also received a specialized wheelchair, leg braces, a stander and assistance with medicalrelated travel expenses.

  With her new Walkabout gain trainer, Sierra Frick is more independent
With her new Walkabout gait trainer, Sierra Frick is more independent.

“Everything we have received through GABR improves her daily life and enhances her possibilities for the future,” Frick said.

Dr. Kevin Murphy
Kevin
Murphy, MD

Rehabilitation
  GABR is an annual fundraising event created to raise money for families who have children with cerebral palsy and related disabilities. Cerebral palsy is a physical disability caused by damage to the brain usually occurring before, during or shortly after birth and is characterized by a lack of muscle control.

Teams of 12 riders gather donations before the event and take turns riding a stationary bike the day of the race. In 2011, 110 teams raised nearly $300,000, a record amount. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $1.5 million to help children and their families in western and central North Dakota.

“GABR funding stays close to home and makes it possible for families to obtain everyday essential items or help pay for portions of outpatient therapy services
insurance will not cover,” said Dr. Kevin Murphy, Sanford Health pediatric rehabilitation specialist. “While these children have unique needs, GABR funding unites them with a common goal of enhancing their lives while helping them live more independently.”

The family learned about GABR funding when Sierra began seeing Dr. Murphy.

Sierra had been using equipment furnished through a program she no longer qualified for when she reached age 3. The family continued to borrow equipment but had to return it when eligible children needed it. “Without GABR funding, Sierra would not have the equipment she needs for everyday activities,” Frick said.

GABR funding has provided children with wheelchairs, adaptive equipment to help with daily activities, therapeutic toys, bicycles, tricycles, computerized speech equipment and home and vehicle modifications. It also helps families with co-pays for therapy and medical services and medical travel.

“Having the necessary equipment helps these children participate with family and friends in everyday activities,” said Beth Thune, co-chair of GABR and chair of the GABR disbursement committee. “Modifying a van to make it wheelchair accessible allows a family to go out to eat together, something we take for granted.”

Funds raised through GABR are disbursed quarterly, and families can apply throughout the year.

Frick is grateful to all those who participate in and support GABR.

“This is such an important cause because it enables families to provide the equipment and services their children truly need,” she said. “We are so appreciative and hope people realize what a difference this funding makes.”

Click here for more information on Sanford Rehabilitation or call (701) 323-6097.

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