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Pendleton girl with cerebral palsy wins adaptive bike

Mar. 16—PENDLETON — Lots of kids want a bike, but not every child can ride a regular two-wheeler.

Rayma Powell, the 10-year-old daughter of Ashley Johns and Dave Powell, is afflicted with cerebral palsy, the most common childhood motor disability.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes CP as "a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture."

Rayma's cerebral palsy was caused by a stroke during birth that damaged the left side of her brain, which affects the right side of her body. She needs help doing minor tasks, including dressing herself.

"She's autistic as well," Johns said. "Almost every daily activity she needs assistance."

Nevertheless, Rayma is adapting to the world around her. One way in which she does this is by using an adaptive three-wheel cycle, which secures her while helping her balance.

But Rayma doesn't have a special "bike" of her own. She uses one loaned by her school.

The special cycles are relatively expensive, costing up to $6,000 apiece, Johns said. The adaptive bike Rayma needs costs about $3,000.

Through the Great Bike Giveaway, children like Rayma with special needs can win an adaptive bike.

Like other contestants, Rayma has her own page on the Great Bike Giveaway site to solicit votes and donations.

Rayma had surpassed her $3,000 goal with $3,090 as of Thursday, meaning she'll receive her special adaptive bike. Any additional donations through Rayma's page will help pay for adaptive bikes for other children.

Children can also win a bike by receiving the most votes. If Rayma does so, the second adaptive bike will go to another child.

Voting continues through March 20, and donations will be accepted through April 11.

Rayma's new adaptive bike will be a game changer for her and her family.

"I have never, ever seen her look like a typical child," Johns said. "This would never be possible on any other sort of bicycle."

The bike will help Rayma progress through her physical therapy, which she's been doing since she was two months old.

Follow Caleb Amick on Twitter @AmickCaleb. Contact him at caleb.amick@heraldbulletin.com or 765-648-4254.