Early gift for brain cancer survivor

Miles Crawford takes his first ride toward his mother Nicole on his John Deere bike provided through Allied’s Toy Adaptation Program.

BY ERIN NISSLEY, Times-Shamrock Writer

As he slid into the seat of his green and yellow tricycle for the first time Friday, Miles Crawford grabbed the handlebars, grinned at his mother and took off like a rocket.

The 6-year-old brain cancer survivor from Susquehanna took several laps around the rehabilitation gym at Allied Services before staffers guided him to the hallway to try his luck on the linoleum. As she watched him, his mom, Nicole Crawford, brushed away a few tears.

“We just want him to be like any other kid,” Mrs. Crawford said. “He’s been through hell.”

Doctors discovered a tumor in Miles’ brain when he was just 1 year old. He underwent more than a year of chemotherapy and radiation, which caused development delays that have left Miles unable to stand, walk or speak.

Miles had outgrown a therapy tricycle he had been using. Mrs. Crawford said the family could not afford a new one, which can easily cost $1,000 or more. Instead, they contacted Allied Services, where staff and volunteers modified a tricycle the Crawfords purchased.

Allied’s Toy Modification Program helps between 50 and 100 families each year, according to Allied officials. Therapists work with families to identify ways to modify toys that will encourage the physical and cognitive development of disabled children.

“Play is how a child develops,” said Amy Frantz, director of occupational therapy at Allied. “If they just sit around, they won’t develop.”

To allow Miles to use the tricycle, a back support and seat belt were added to the seat to help him stay upright. The pedals also were modified with special straps to keep the little boy’s feet in place. All together, work on the bike took about three days, according to volunteer Jeff Warner.

“It was a labor of love,” he said as Miles zoomed around. “It’s just precious to watch.”