Many kids dream of finding a new bicycle under the tree on Christmas morning. But for Quinton Korbe’s family, that dream was a long time in the making.
Quinton, lovingly referred to by his family as “Quinny,” was born with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome 20 years ago. The extremely rare genetic condition causes a wide range of severe physical and mental delays.
Quinny, for example, is able to run, but lacks the motor skills necessary to pedal a bike or spoon-feed himself. Though 20 years old, he functions at the level of a 2- to 4-year-old, his mother, Simone, said. So his family jumped at the opportunity earlier this year to receive financial assistance that would finally enable their son to get a bike he could use.
“He’s not potty trained, or sometimes he’s up at night. People just don’t understand that there’s so much more to this syndrome than anyone’s aware of,” Simone Korbe said. “But the bike brings us stress relief.”
The Korbe family entered an online fundraising campaign through Friendship Circle’s Great Bike Giveaway. As the post circulated social media, friends, family and members of the Hays community pledged donations to help the family purchase a Duet adaptive bike, which allows Quinny to ride up front with an adult pedaling just behind him.
The family was successful in meeting their fundraising goal of more than $4,000. In fact, they were blown away by the support they received, with the money being raised in just one week, Korbe said.
“It was absolutely the best feeling in the world because it was the Hays community. Almost everybody was from Hays and it was all people that I knew from high school or that knew our family when I was growing up,” she said. “Even the little donations meant so much to our hearts. With every single donation, I just teared up because this is so great. It’s something that I just can’t go buy this.”
The private donations, combined with a discount through the charitable campaign, finally allowed Quinny to take his first bike ride last spring. Simone said the family has struggled to adequately express how thankful they are to those who contributed for this gift, which has continued to bless the family all year.
The family opted to purchase a motor for the bike at their own cost, which is beneficial to help push the bike up steep paths or if the cyclist gets tired, she said.
The Korbes — who also have four daughters — enjoy spending time outdoors camping and hiking, and finally have a way for the whole family to venture out together. Previously, someone always had to stay behind to care for Quinton, she said.
“It’s just really nice to be able to get out,” she said. “I’m able to now and it’s just good for both us. It’s good for him to get sunshine and Vitamin D and fresh air and be able to look at nature. And me too, really.”
Simone became emotional when discussing how the bike has helped improve Quinny’s well-being. For example, the extra sunshine has helped clear up a case of cradle cap the boy has had most of his life, she said.
The family has had a remarkable journey. When Quinton was first born, doctors didn’t think he’d live beyond his first six months — if he even survived his first 24 hours. But 20 years later, it’s clear their son continues to defy the odds. And now one of his favorite things to do is take his mother on a bike ride, Simone said, noting their son often will take her by the hand and lead her to the bike when he wants a ride. And whenever the weather allows, they probably can be found cycling through Hays.
“He’s such a joy. I always tell people don’t feel sorry for him,” Korbe said. “He is the sweetest. I am so blessed that he is just my whole life, and my husband’s life. He makes us laugh, and just to see the joy on his face.
“He just laughs in the wind.”