Twelve-year-old Thomas LeBlanc has a zest for life, and loves having fun – especially on his bike.
His developmental disability he has had since birth may have slowed him down but it has never brought him down, his mother, Janny LeBlanc, says from the family home in Shemogue in southeastern New Brunswick.
Thomas is happy, has a great sense of humour and almost always has a bright smile on his face.
At school, he gets a helping hand from physiotherapist Josee Daigle, who steadies and safeguards him as he walks and as he rides a specially equipped tricycle acquired for him through Ability New Brunswick.
Ability New Brunswick was not only able to get him the bike through its Para NB program but also helped Tom and his family by working with and arranging for help from professionals like Josee.
“What we want to do is improve the quality of life for people like Thomas who have a disability,” Josee says. “We also want to prevent their disability from getting worse.”
Josee says it is very rewarding work and there is never a day when she doesn’t have a smile on her face.
“Thomas has a great personality. He wants to have fun and he doesn’t take things too seriously.”
Josee says Ability New Brunswick is a tremendous help in her work with children. She says the adaptive sports equipment provided to kids like Thomas allow them to participate in sports and get the exercise they need to improve their overall health and strength.
“The adaptive equipment offered through Ability New Brunswick means kids with a disability are not limited in sporting activities,” she says. “It means they don’t have to be just spectators – all of a sudden, riding a bike is safe enough for them to do. It is very rewarding.”
Having the trike at his school in Cap-Pelé allows Thomas the freedom to get around the halls and to have fun with the other youth.
“He loves to go on the tricycle,” Janny says. “He’s happiest when they let him loose to ride around the gym.”