For the first time in his life, Bluegrass Middle School student Raymundo Perez-Hernandez was able to experience the thrill of riding a bicycle Saturday afternoon.

The ride was thanks to a donation from the Kiwanis Club of Hardin County.

Peddling around the parking lot of Baptist Health Hardin Therapy and Sports Medicine Center in Radcliff, Perez-Hernandez smiled and waved to his family, Baptist Health Hardin staff, members of the Kiwanis Club and to his teachers, who were watching him through FaceTime.

The bike Perez-Hernandez rode was made by AmTryke, a company that specializes in bicycles for those with special needs. Perez-Hernandez, 13, is diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia, a neurological condition which can cause poor muscle coordination and difficulties in speech.

“I’m excited to ride with my family,” Perez-Hernandez said through an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device Saturday, addressing the crowd gathered in the parking lot.

The Kiwanis Club of Hardin County worked with regional nonprofit Bluegrass AMBUCS to acquire the AmTryke. The bike cost more than $750 and was purchased by the Kiwanis Club through donations acquired over the past year, according to Kiwanis Club of Hardin County president Darrell Olson.

The club previously donated two AmTrykes to local children last year and works with Baptist Health Hardin Therapy and Sports Medicine Cen­ter to identify recipients.

Perez-Hernandez’s mother Rosa said her son has tried many times to ride a bike with his siblings throughout his life but could never successfully do so because of his condition. She said when he found out he was going to receive the AmTryke, he had a hard time sleeping because of excitement.

“I’m so excited and I feel so blessed because it’s the first time I’ve seen my son so excited about riding on a bike,” she said.

Since its formation in 2016, Kiwanis Club of Hardin County has contributed more than $40,000 to community initiatives such as Mission Hope for Kids, SpringHaven Domestic Violence Shelter and Helping Hand of Hope.

“Hardin County is our community and the time is now,” Olson said. “Kiwanis members are generous with their time, are creative with ideas, are passionate about making a difference and, most of all, have fun along the way.”

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1746 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.

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