“Seventh grade has been hard,” admits Hailey Crotts, as she nears the end of the difficult year.
But things are looking up for the 13-year-old student at Mount Airy Middle School after she recently acquired a long-awaited AmTryke bike.
Hailey was diagnosed with Caudel regression syndrome at birth, a condition that caused her sacrum not to develop. The sacrum is a trianglur bone at the bottom of the spine, which joins the hipbones.
“Her sacrum is missing,” said her father Jimmy Crotts. “The lower part of her spine is just dangling. That’s why she sits ‘Indian-style’.”
Due to her condition, Hailey isn’t able to ride an ordinary bicycle, and the sort of bike it is possible for her to ride, a three-wheeler with hand controls (pedaling, steering and brakes are all operated with the hands) cost $1,400 and was out of her family’s reach.
So at the Autumn Leaves Festival last fall, some of Hailey’s friends from the band at school worked with her to raise some money for the bike. The kids took donations from people parking at Donna’s Barber Shop on Renfro Street for the festival.
“It was all donations. We didn’t set a price,” said Donna Hiatt, owner of the barber shop. “They come from all over the world. One person said something had made her stop here. They had a prayer with all of us. It was touching.”
In 2015, the same strategy was used when Hailey needed a new wheelchair which cost $5,300. That time, the parking donations came up short until Hiatt got a phone call from someone who asked how much money they were short and then made what Hiatt characterized as “a very large donation” to put them over the top.
“People were so generous,” said Hiatt. “I wish we could thank all of them and let them know how much Hailey is enjoying her bicycle.”
Hailey’s new bike had to be ordered and it took a while for it to get here.
“She tried it out on the hill behind our house,” said her father. “She just about took out two mailboxes.” He said the exercise Hailey gets on the bike is of great value to her health.
“I can’t wait for it to get nicer so I can ride more,” said Hailey, as her bike was finally delivered to her during an unusually cold, snowy spring.
Jonathan Jones, the band director for Mount Airy Middle School as well as Mount Airy High School, provided a truck to pick up the bicycle in Greensboro and drove it himself to go to get the bicycle and bring it back.
“I just really like band,” said Hailey. “I have friends there. I like the teacher, and I really like playing an instrument.”
Hailey plays the clarinet, but used to play the flute. She likes “Hotel California” and AC/DC. She also likes Jon Bon Jovi and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
Her father grins at the 13-year-old’s musical taste, and says, “She likes what she’s heard.”
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.