The Story of Anika & Scirocco, A Junior Racing Trike
Another family at the Joni and Friends retreat in June 2007 said, “You have made our daughter Anika so happy this week. We can’t thank you enough.”
Anika was an eight-year-old, adopted from Belarus at the age of four…When Anika arrived in the United States, she walked off the plane, and four months later she walked into the hospital for surgery. But due to complications during surgery, she left a paraplegic. Her life would never be the same again. Still, it couldn’t steal her determination, athleticism, or charm.
During the week of JNF Family Retreat Anika rode our trikes for eight hours. “She has Olympic potential,” a physical therapist stated.
When Kevin, our trike designer, came one day to glean insight about the engineering changes that were needed, he saw Anika ride.”*
*Excerpt from, Teisan, Alice Riding on Faith: Keeping Your Balance When the Wheels Fall OFF, (2012), 134-138.
Summer to Fall 2007
Building Scirocco meaning African Wind
When Kevin went to Joni and Friends retreat in June, I, Alice, “mentioned the possibility of building a junior hand-cycle racer for her…. She melted Kevin’s heart …
Throughout the summer and fall, Kevin designed and built a racing trike for Anika. The trike was aerodynamic, high-tech, and multiple-geared and would allow Anika to work toward her ultimate athletic potential. With Anika in mind, Kevin named it Scirocco, which meant “African wind.” *
*Excerpt from, Teisan, Alice Riding on Faith: Keeping Your Balance When the Wheels Fall OFF, (2012), 136-140.
Bloomington, Indiana, Anika getting Scirocco
Months later, when we fitted Anika to Scirocco, she rode around, smiling and singing, “I’m having so much fun.” She left everyone who tried to run alongside her in the dust.
Kevin watched with excitement as he did some of his final engineering analysis. Afterward he said, “I have found what I was created to do.”
Then and there our dream for a junior hand-cycle racing team was born. Where it would lead us, only God knew.”*
*Excerpt from, Teisan, Alice Riding on Faith: Keeping Your Balance When the Wheels Fall OFF, (2012), 140.
Building Pink Panther, 2nd Junior Racer
Back in 2007 after Kevin designed Scirocco he decided to make a 2nd Junior Racer. We gave Scirocco to Anika on loan until the 2nd junior racer was complete. Kevin asked Anika “What color would you like
your trike to be?” Without hesitation Anika said, “Pink with white flames!”
Indiana (Bloomington) Exchanged Pink Panther for Scirocco with Anika
April 2007 Alice took one of the first third generation DOTT (Dual Offset Tube Trike) trikes with her to Joni and Friends (JNF) new International Headquarters in Agoura Hills, CA per request of the Wheels for the World (WFTW) Director. The $1,000 donation we received at the March Disability Sunday event covered all the expenses in taking a trike out to California and most of the trip expenses too.
The purpose of the trip was to learn more about WFTW and to introduce WFTW to HWI.
Through reliable partnerships around the world and a fleet of volunteers in 2007 WFTW sent 15 teams to 14 countries. They had the international shipping expertise needed to get the 8,000 wheelchairs to those countries for distribution.
While at JNF headquarters the WFTW’s director also made it possible for Alice to spend a day with one of their volunteer mechanics and to visit the Taft prison wheelchair rehabilitation center. We showed the person overseeing the center the HWI trike and left it there for them to consider if they were interested in future discussions about manufacturing possibilities for the trike.
While at Taft prison in the Mojave Desert of California we also did some sandy terrain testing of the trike, which was helpful for our HWI ongoing research and development.
Houston, Texas: Trike Manufacturing
“Who’s going to build the trikes, pay for the trikes and receive the trikes?” These were the 3 questions we discussed and prayed about at our August 2008 board meeting.
The Lord prompted Alice to invite Jason, a businessman from Texas to join our August board meeting by phone. He had found us in 2006 through a testimony that Alice gave on national radio.
Two days after the board meeting Jason emailed Alice and said his company would help us try to achieve our goal of manufacturing trikes. Thus from November 3-7, 2008 Alice flew to Houston, Texas and Kevin drove his truck full of trike supplies. There we met Jason and drove on to his Optiblast, a company he owns in Jacksonville, Texas.
Within 48 hours after arriving at Optiblast the first trike was built. Kevin gained valuable insights while watching Troy, who had never seen the equipment before easily navigate the trike assembly fixtures, build a trike, and make a useful design change.
While in Texas Jason shared his insights and business expertise. His thought provoking discussions helped us as we began clarifying our trike vision.
Florida (Dunnellon) Visited I-TEC
On December 23, 2009 while in Florida Alice and her friend Carolyn went “drove to I-TEC (Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Center), founded by Steve Saint. I-TEC’s mission is to help indigenous churches in their journey toward independence by enabling them to overcome the technological and educational hurdles that stand in their way. They equip people around the world with the necessary technology and train them so they can care for themselves with minimal outside support.
When Steve saw a picture of HWI’s trike, he shared a heart-breaking story. He said, ‘While serving as a missionary in Mali, West Africa, I saw what looked like a small animal crawling along in sewer water. When I got closer, I was appalled to find a small child pulling himself along by his hands.’ Steve encouraged us, ‘Keep doing what you are doing,’ and he and his staff offered to help HWI by sharing their expertise.
I-TEC shared our ministry philosophy and was further down the road than we were in building remuneration into their program.”*
*Excerpt from, Teisan, Alice Riding on Faith: Keeping Your Balance When the Wheels Fall OFF, (2012), 161.