Bike gives girl hope

The beaming smile on 12-year-old Tahlia Marance’s face was one of pure joy, as the sixth-grader from Red Deer was given a custom-made bike from her peers on Thursday afternoon at The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

Tahlia Marance of Red Deer rides her new bike for the first time at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday. Marance’s fellow students at the School of Hope raised $2

Tahlia Marance of Red Deer rides her new bike for the first time at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday. Marance’s fellow students at the School of Hope raised $2

The beaming smile on 12-year-old Tahlia Marance’s face was one of pure joy, as the sixth-grader from Red Deer was given a custom-made bike from her peers on Thursday afternoon at The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

Marance, who has cerebral palsy, received the bike as the result of $2,000 raised by students at School of Hope, a virtual campus based out of Vermilion that helps home-school 1,400 students in Alberta.

The custom recumbent model lets Marance peddle from a relaxed, seated position, which is necessary because her arm function, balance and dexterity is limited due to her condition.

“Our Grade 6s spearheaded the project and the whole school got on board,” said Elaine Johnston-MacMillan, an instructor at School of Hope.

David Woodland, the elementary principal at School of Hope, was also instrumental in organizing the fundraising campaign, Johnston-MacMillan said.

Students raised money in their communities for Marance’s bike by doing an assortment of tasks — such as bottle drives, bake sales, donation boxes, and games nights.

“We had a game tournament and ended up raising about $70 … and from a bake sale we ended up raising another $70,” said Anthony Speta, a Grade 6 School of Hope student from Calgary.

Speta and his parents drove from Calgary to Red Deer on Thursday to watch Marance receive her new wheels and said the experience has been a rewarding one.

About a dozen other students and staff from the School of Hope met with Marance and her family for the first time as she cruised around the lobby of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

The custom bike was made at Bentley Cycle and Trading Post, which specializes in recumbent cycles like the one Tahlia was given.

“We didn’t even know the school was doing this until they told us we need to get her fitted for the bike,” said Tahlia’s sister, Dondee Marance.

“It’s great, she’s so exited, she’s been counting down the days ’till she can ride her new bike.”

syoung@bprda.wpengine.com