Max Ulrich and his big brother, Micah, love playing outside — especially riding their bikes near their Wichita home.
For most kids, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but 3-year-old Max suffers from non-genetic epilepsy and non-genetic cerebral palsy as a result of a medical issue he suffered at birth. He is unable to communicate or move on his own, and his muscles contract uncontrollably.
But thanks to a special tricycle purchased by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals at Ascension Via Christi and United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas, Max is out cruising the streets with his family.
"Our neighbors have been so happy that Max has the tricycle because they see how happy it makes him to be outside," says his mom, Tiffani.
Not just for fun
Ascension Medical Group neurologist Bassem El-Nabbout, MD, has helped manage Max’s epilepsy since he was 6 months old. Dr. El-Nabbout conducted a week-long Electroencephalogram (EEG) study with Max when he was around 18 months old to help detect abnormalities in Max’s brain.
“That really helped Dr. El-Nabbout and us understand what was going on with Max,” Tiffani says.
Max attends physical therapy sessions four times a week, during which an adaptive tricycle is used.
“It helps his brain tell his legs to move one at a time and not both together," Tiffani says.
Wanting to continue his therapy at home, Tiffani and her husband, Chuck, looked into buying a tricycle Max could use at home. Unfortunately it cost $2,400, which was much more than the family could afford.
“Insurance didn’t feel the tricycle was medically necessary,” Tiffani says.
That's when CMNH and United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas stepped up to help. They purchased thhe Rifton adaptive tricycle, which helps increase Max's range of motion and lets him pedal the bike himself.
Despite all of Max’s physical challenges, one thing that hasn’t been affected is his outlook on life.
“He’s the happiest person I’ve ever met,” says Tiffani. “He brings so much joy to everyone everywhere we go.”