The Knights of Columbus are known for their charity – but one thing most of us on the outside do not pause to think about is the way in which those on the receiving end of this charity view the Knights of Columbus. Ten-year-old Kaeden Dennie, for example, views the Knights of Columbus as heroes. And why shouldn’t he? After all, they have helped to provide him with what amounts to a “real childhood”!
Kaeden has cerebral palsy that has limited his lower body strength all his young life. While he is generally able to get along just fine in life, thanks to the help of his loving and supportive family and his wheelchair, one thing he has never been able to do before is something every kid should have the opportunity to do: ride a bicycle. The lower-body power required to pedal a bicycle was just not there for Kaeden, and it seemed that this was simply something this brave young boy with cerebral palsy would have to do without in his life. But then, the Knights of Columbus got involved.
It all started when Kaeden’s father, Kevin, was at work talking about his son, about his son’s cerebral palsy, and about his wish that his son would be able to ride a bicycle. One of Kevin’s coworkers – Denis Barbeau, a member of the Knights of Columbus – started talking about this further with Kevin, wondering whether there was anything available that might help enable Kaeden to live out this dream. ‘Yes,’ Kevin told Denis, ‘there is a bike designed for kids with cerebral palsy like Kaeden…but it costs $2,000.’
Rather than seeing this as an obstacle, however, Denis Barbeau simply saw this as an opportunity to help a coworker, a friend, and a member of his community. He brought the idea to the Knights of Columbus of helping Kaeden reach his dream of being able to ride a bicycle, and they immediately jumped on board. Incredibly, it took only three weeks to raise the money needed for the bike!
While Kevin was aware that the Knights were putting together something for Kaeden, he in no way imagined it would all come together so quickly. When Denis asked if he could come over, Kevin assumed he was swinging by for some paperwork or something; instead, he showed up with the bike!
In addition to being entirely accessible and equipped for Kaeden’s needs and condition, the bicycle is also adjustable, which means that the bike will be able to grow as Kaeden grows. He will be able to continue using this bicycle for most of his life!
To some, the Knights of Columbus may simply seem like an organization that often pitches in to help in their community. To a young man with cerebral palsy like Kaeden, however, the Knights of Columbus mean a whole lot more!