A local school is raising money to help a 14-year-old disabled teen live his dream of owning his first bike.
Tristan Joseph was diagnosed with meningococcus at just 2 years old. Doctors did not think he would survive.
"It started with a fever, but then my wife saw a spot on his back, and by the time she took him to the hospital, he was covered in spots head to toe," said Tristan's father Craig Joseph.
The mysterious illness left Tristan a double amputee just above his knees, but it hasn't stopped the teen from staying active.
He has two prosthetic legs that help him do just about anything he wants to do.
"I have a lot of drive. My friends push me to do stuff that I want to do," said Tristan. "I love to play tackle football and basketball."
But there is one thing Tristan longs to do - ride a bike.
"Everyone here rides bikes, and I can't keep up with them in my wheelchair," said Tristan.
That's why his classmates at Faulconer-Chapman School in Sheridan are hosting a fundraiser to purchase a custom-made hand cycle from Freedom Ryder in Tualatin.
They're hoping to raise $4,000 to purchase the specialized bike.
The school has started a penny drive this week, and plans to host a benefit dinner a FCS May 17. All proceeds go toward helping the Joseph family get the bike.
Organizers say it's the least they could do for the boy who's taught them so much about how to live life.
"You know, he didn't ask for what happened to him, and he does so much in spite of things. We just want to keep it going for him," said FCS Principal Marti Hofenbredl.
And that's a pretty cool thing to hear, says Tristan, who lives to inspire others.
"It's really cool of them to do this. Having a bike would mean a lot to me. It would mean I get to be independent without having to use the wheelchair," said Tristan.
And it means perhaps even more to a father, who once never thought this to be possible.
"For him to have that freedom to get up and go and say, ‘Dad I'm going to go ride my bike, see you later!' That would be awesome," said Craig Joseph. "I just want to say thank you to everyone who is helping my son."
For more information on how to help Tristan and his family, call the Faulconer-Chapman School in Sheridan at 503-843-3732.
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