Finding a Bike for Bobby

Bobby* came to Sunrise’s Woodlawn Center, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility in Danville at age 15. He was confused, hurt, abandoned, and suffering from major trauma and other issues. He had endured physical abuse from his mother. He had lived with ailing grandparents who could no longer care for him. He was having issues with mental health, dealing with thoughts of self harm, depression, and anxiety in addition to ADD.  He was failing school and saw little hope for his future. He felt there were no adults whom he could trust. 

And due to the health of his previous caretakers, he had missed out on some childhood norms. He was unable to go places and do things that children normally experience . . . like riding a bike.

Bobby never had a bike of his own. He said he had borrowed a friend’s and learned to ride, but he always wanted a bike.

That’s what makes the night of the Tempur Sealy Christmas party so special.  In December, Tempur Sealy in Lexington hosted their annual Christmas party for many of our Sunrise residential boys and girls. At the end of the night, while Bobby was talking with Sunrise team members and donors, he suddenly began shaking with tears in his eyes as adults wheeled out a big beautiful bicycle. He knew immediately it was for him.

Christmas day, after he opened other gifts excitedly and joyfully, he was taken outside to ride his brand new bike (with helmet) and was able to experience the joy of his childhood recaptured in the moment. He was smiling ear to ear as he rode his bike down a hill shouting, “Hallelujah!” 

During his time at Sunrise, Bobby has been able to experience many childhood norms while working on past trauma and learning emotional regulation skills in therapy. He still has some work to do and is working actively, but the Sunrise team notices how much growth and happiness this young man is displaying. From crying regularly and displaying anger toward everyone, Bobby is now smiling, trusting staff, and encouraging his peers. 

All of us at Sunrise feel blessed to help hurting, abused, and neglected children recapture their childhood, even at age 15. Instead of giving up on adolescents and adults with mental health or severe behavioral issues, the team at Sunrise understands that changes can happen throughout life. Sometimes people just need to know they are safe and cared for; and they need to be encouraged in order to help them regain their lives and heal. Sometimes, it even takes a bike.

Thanks to Tempur Sealy for another wonderful party for our Sunrise kids, and for being so generous. And thanks to ALL of our donors for making sure that our Sunrise kids experienced a special Christmas.

*Name changed to protect the identity of the individual.

Jake Pelfrey