Sarah Mihaila, a second grader at Inland Leaders Charter School, received a custom-made hand cycle from the Dare to be Project at a ceremony at Yucaipa Community Park on June 7.
The Dare to be Project is a non-profit organization founded by two-time Olympian Amber Neben.
A few months ago, Neben read a hand-written letter from Mihaila, who has spina bifida, and decided to grant one of her wishes.
“She dreamed of having a hand cycle,” said Neben. “She’s a beautiful little spirit and we’re excited to open up a new door of freedom for her.”
Mihaila’s mother, Alex andra, said she was happy for her daughter and the opportunities therein.
“It’s an honor to meet this lady (Neben) as a sister in Christ,” said Alexandra. “She has a good heart. It’s a blessing for us to see our daughter fulfill one of her dreams today.”
After the obligatory photographs, Neben gave Mihaila a bike lesson.
“This is good and it’s really going to help me,” said a smiling Mihaila.
The hand cycle costs ap proximately $2,000. This is the organization’s third hand cycle donation and the first in Yucaipa.
Eric Resier, Redlands Bike Classic director, was also at the ceremony.
“Amber has received the sportsmanship award twice,” he said. “She’s the only one to receive it twice. She exemplifies what a top competitor and what good sportsmanship is.”
Neben said Yucaipa Bike Center had graciously agreed to provide complimentary maintenance for the hand cycle.
Neben is a decorated road cyclist and a two time Olympian, two-time world champion and two-time National champion. She began her career in sports as a soccer player and moved to a distance runner but quickly learned her brittle bones did not allow for running so she switched to mountain biking. She lives in Lake Forest with her husband and remains active in the southern California bike circuit.
The Dare to be Project is a 501c3. To learn more about it visit www.thedaretobeproject.org.