Sofia’s Turn

A teenage girl sits outdoors in an adapted wheelchair.

On a recent trip to St. Louis, Sofia and her mother, Tracey, decided to enjoy the beautiful day and take a quick trip to the Zoo before heading home. In the past, Tracey dreaded the Zoo because of the difficulty in maneuvering Sofia in her wheelchair up the large hills that lead to many of the popular exhibits like the monkey house. This time was different, and Tracey happily agreed to the pit stop. Boone County Family Resources funding was accessed to purchase a Firefly adaptor that turns Sofia’s wheelchair into an electric bike. With the Firefly attached, her wheels raise, a front wheel and handle bars are added, and the wheelchair is able to go speeds up to 12 MPH. 

“The hills at the Zoo used to kill my back, and now she can get around, even the big hills, by herself. It takes a lot of pressure from her shoulders too, which can be a common injury,” said Tracey.

After first getting the Firefly, Sofia and Tracey participated in a mother daughter bicycle ride together on the trail ­− something that parents of able bodied kids do everyday. Now it’s something they can do together. A month ago, they went to Johnson Shut-ins State Park. Sofia was able to do so much independently thanks to the Firefly. Without it, there was nothing accessible she could participate in at the park.

Her support coordinator, Tory, loves to see Sofia increase her mobility.

“Her success with the assistive technology provided by BCFR is really increasing her independence and quality of life,” said Tory.  

The appreciation is mutual, as Sofia and Tracey are so thankful for all the support that Tory provides.

Tracey said, “I am thrilled to have Tory! As soon as Sofia met her, I could see them click. Sofia loved the color in her hair, and her and Tory connected right from the get go. I can’t say enough how good she has been. She listens to me with a genuineness and doesn’t get frustrated. She always helps as much as she can.”

Sofia also participates in wheelchair basketball tournaments. Sofia’s team is with the Disability Athlete Sports Association (DASA ).  The team is a merger of athletes from St. Louis and Columbia. The team has traveled to Illinois and Wisconsin for 2 different tournaments.  Sofia accesses therapeutic recreation funding for her team participation and mileage reimbursement to assist with travel. 

With BCFR’s support, Sofia continues to thrive, connect and achieve her goals.