The first annual motorcycle dice run for Triality, Warriors on Wheels, was held on Saturday, August 27. The ride covered an 80-mile scenic route through the back roads of the Northland. Riders gathered at Worth Harley-Davidson North bright and early for departure. The weather cooperated fully after rain showers on Friday, and riders got their share of sunshine, which we had not seen much of during the week.
History: Triality is a not-for-profit agency that provides care and education to children and adults with developmental disabilities such as Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, and brain injury caused by prematurity, child abuse, prenatal drug and alcohol exposure as well as chromosomal abnormalities and unknown causes. The organization was established 30 years ago in response to the needs of parents of adult children with complex development disabilities. The Southern Platte County Jaycees founded Triality and established a Day Habilitation program to provide recreation and continued educational opportunities to people who were not eligible for sheltered employment.
In 2001, Triality’s board of directors responded to yet another cry from the community, this time from the children—children with special medical needs. Therapy and nursing care are provided for those requiring specialized medical care for tracheotomies, brittle bone disease, heart defects and tube feedings, just to name a few.
At the registration table I had the opportunity to meet some very grateful parents of Triality. They have a very special child. (Did I mention adorable child?) Two-year-old Samantha Binning sat on the registration table smiling, waving and thoroughly amused with the roar of all the bikes coming and going—all to help her and others like her.
Samantha is a happy-go-lucky little girl who was not expected to live beyond 24 hours after her birth. When Heather Binning was seven months pregnant, her husband Pat and she were actually planning a funeral after the devastating news from their doctors on Samantha’s condition. Her condition is called osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), known as the brittle bone disease. It is caused from a lack of collagen in the bones. A person with OI may break a rib while coughing or a leg by rolling over in their sleep. It affects a person throughout their lifetime. Only Samantha’s parents and the trained medical staff at the Triality Tots Center can hold her. She has rods inserted in both legs and has had three surgeries in three weeks for the rods in her tiny, fragile arms. The additional surgeries were caused from fractures in her arms, and they can only wait and see if the rods hold in place. Every two months she gets an IV infusion injection through a “cork-like” implant located on her chest under the skin.
Pat and Heather take Samantha to Triality because all the therapy is there—therapists, occupational therapists and nurses, all trained to handle their fragile and precious child. It also makes it possible for Heather to continue working, knowing her daughter is being cared for by professionals.
You know, we bikers think we are pretty tough, but it’s the children, parents and staff who are the tough ones because they face insurmountable challenges every day…..and still have enough strength for a few smiles for a stranger.
This is why we ride, folks, because it touches our hearts and hopefully helps make a difference, or at least puts a little more green in their coffers. Due to the cutback on federal funding this year, Triality, like many other organizations, has lost a substantial amount of government financing. It is for this reason they are reaching out to the community to help raise funds for this worthy cause. They operate on a $2,406,382 operating budget with less than 15 percent going to administrative expenses.
The benefit was well organized; each rider received a nice nylon backpack with a cool T-shirt and other goodies inside, they had plenty of really nice raffle and auction items, the prize money for high hand on the dice run was a cool $100 plus, and they even fed us a free lunch. Mix 93 FM and a live band provided the tunes for the afternoon. Pre-registration took place on the Thursday bike night at Margarita’s north location with drink coupons and dinner specials.
The ride ended at Paul & Jacks in North Kansas City where the drawings for prizes and entertainment took place. A total of 99 people attended and 74 bikes participated. Not too shabby for a first time effort especially when they competed with the Sedalia drag races. One couple, Dan and Marilee from Kearney, started on the ride and had bike problems with their Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider, but that did not stop them. They got the bike home, got in their car and came on down for the after-party. They even won a couple raffle items!
Readers, thank you for letting me introduce you to Triality. I personally did not know anything about the organization until fellow bikers Steve and Diane Diebler introduced Paula Justice to me. She invited me to attend a committee meeting and share ideas with them on how to go about organizing a charity event. I think by the end of the event they had all become “professional beggars” from the contacts they made for contributions, but it sure paid off. Wendy Wetcig is the executive director, and she was right in there working with all the other volunteers. An extraordinary amount of work goes into every fundraising event, but when it is for special needs children or adults it makes it all worthwhile.
Oh, and here is an added plus for Triality. When we pre-registered at Margarita’s we were there with other friends, and as I was telling them about Triality and little Samantha, Vicki Kauzlarich asked if any of the families or the facility could use a nearly new electric wheelchair that belonged to her mother. Not knowing their set-up on equipment, I suggested we go talk to Paula and Wendy. They were thrilled by Vicki’s offer, and the smile on their faces showed their appreciation, knowing what a valuable contribution this was for the children. A big hug and thank you to Vicki for stepping forward…..your mom would be so proud.
The staff I met are true to the vision of Triality, “A society focused on the individual rather than their disabilities.” It was a pleasure meeting all of them, and their dedication to the cause inspired me. I hope next year they will double or triple the number of riders for the second annual Warriors on Wheels event and raise more funds for Triality. Check out their website at www.triality.com
Story & Photos by Goldie Arnold