COLORADO SPRINGS - Like any 13-year-old likes to do, Dominic Harden likes to ride his bike.
But Dominic is no ordinary 13-year-old boy, and his bike is no ordinary bike.
A Colorado Springs resident, Dominic was introduced to The Children’s Hospital in Denver at a young age. Dominic was born with a condition called bilateral proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD). It is a birth defect where the femur (thigh bone) is shorter than normal. In Dominic’s case, his condition affected both femurs and his joints were not properly formed so there is no connection between his femurs and pelvis. No treatment was available for Dominic since it affected both legs.
Due to his orthopedic condition, riding a bike was nearly impossible for Dominic. He tried tricycles and modifying different bikes, but nothing worked. Dominic resigned to thinking that riding a bike would not be something he could do.
But then came a gift from Adaptive Adventures in Evergreen, Colo. The shop loaned Dominic a hand crank bike, and Dominic has been on cloud nine ever since. Dominic has been riding everywhere and loving every minute of it.
“It has been an absolute joy as a mother, to watch my son do something he has always wanted to do,” said Monica Harden, Dominic’s mother. “He can now be like every other kid out there on his bike.”
But unlike a lot of kids on their bikes this summer, Dominic is actually training for an event. Dominic and his older brother and sister are riding in the Taste of Courage, the one-day option to the Courage Classic, a three-day cycling event that benefits The Children’s Hospital.
Dominic is riding with Team Courage, a cycling team made up of former and current patients at Children’s. The captain of Team Courage, Bob Walter, helped the Hardens get connected with Adaptive Adventures.
The rest of the Harden family will be up at the Courage Classic this summer as well. For the past several years, the Hardens have volunteered at the event. They feel that the Courage Classic is their time to give back to the hospital that has given Dominic so many opportunities, not only through his treatment but also through the Hospital Sports Program. Dominic has been an avid participant of the Hospital Sports Program, especially its ski program.
For the past two years, Dominic has joined his parents as a volunteer. He gave out medals to cyclists at the finish line. But now its Dominic’s turn to cross the finish line, and it will be his way of saying thank you.
“Children’s has done so much for me,” Dominic said.
The Courage Classic is July 21-23 in Copper Mountain.
If you would like to pledge support for Dominic and Team Courage, you can do so at a href="http://www.couragetours.com"