Leilani Te Whau

Leilani Te Whau

Rotorua triplet Leilani Te Whau has arthrogyposis, which causes weakness and a reduced range of motion in her legs.

The 11 year old can walk short distances with crutches and uses a wheelchair for long distances. She has always wanted to ride a bike with her family, but lacked the strength and movement in her legs to ride a standard bike or trike. Leilani's parents worked hard to raise the funds to purchase a bike for each of their daughters, but a specialised handcycle for Leilani was out of reach due to the high cost.

With the help of Halberg Disability Sport Adviser Cherryl Thompson, they applied for a Halberg Activity Fund grant to cover the costs of this trike. Leilani was delighted to receive news when funding for her trike was approved.

"I'm so excited I'm getting the bike! I will be out biking every day," Leilani says.

The youngster has already proven herself to be a keen young sportswoman. She started swimming at six with personalised swimming lessons, also funded by an Activity Fund grant. She now swims one kilometre most days. With the news of her handcycle, she has set herself the goal of competing in a triathlon in the future.

"It is so cool to be out and about and to be faster than my sisters."