Lucy is the smart, sweet, and special daughter of DIRT Zwift team member Colin Kipping-Ruane. She suffers from a rare disease called Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome and needs our help!
A letter from Lucy's Dad, DIRT Zwift Team Member Colin Kipping-Ruane:
The DIRT community has always been there to support me as a husband and a father. The friendships I have built in this community have helped me through some rough patches, especially when the coronavirus changed everything.
I always look forward to DIRT’s set schedule of rides throughout the week. Each time I jump on the bike, I can do something that I absolutely love, but I also find myself connecting with fellow riders on an even deeper level since we all share a common ground: parenthood.
One of my fondest memories of DIRT is the laughter we share over Dad jokes. It is always great to have a moment of levity in the midst of a tough climb or a long ride. I was also delighted to be able to set up a DIRT ride for kids. Seeing my son and other kids riding together and having fun was an absolute joy. It was a reminder that cycling can be a source of connection for people of all ages.
I want to take a moment to tell you about my youngest, Lucy. She is a smart, social, 4-year-old girl who enjoys playing with her family and peers. She has a diagnosis of Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome. Lucy presented with developmental delays in gross motor, fine motor, and speech milestones after birth.
Through hard work and determination, she has continued to surpass milestones. Lucy wears orthotics on her feet to support her while she plays. She has begun taking steps independently without a walker and is walking alone!
Lucy has decreased strength in her trunk and leg muscles. An adaptive bike would allow Lucy to strengthen her leg muscles to walk, run, and climb stairs.
Tap to replay the precious video of Lucy’s first bike ride!
During one of her physical therapy sessions, Lucy tried a blue Freedom Concepts adaptive cycle. She was automatically interested in the bike. Lucy can become distracted by her surroundings; however, for the first time during her therapy session, all she wanted to do was ride the bike!
Lucy got on the bike and seemed excited and curious about this new activity. She began to pedal the bike and required assistance to pedal and turn. Lucy practiced and then started to pedal all by herself. Then she signed “more,” indicating she wanted to keep riding. She was so proud of herself. Watching Lucy pedal a bike is inspiring!
An adaptive bike would be life-changing because it would allow Lucy to safely explore her environment and participate in family activities. Lucy could ride her bike alongside her siblings instead of being pulled on a trailer behind her mom or me. Lucy can also start to travel farther distances, such as the playground to ride the swings or the local train station to watch the trains go by.
Thank you very much for your support.
We Met Our Goal!
Thank you for the overwhelming generosity!
Click here to contribute to the fund and support our upcoming “The DIRT Effect” scholarship program!
Or scroll down to learn more about our mission and check out our new Spring Merchandise collection!
The DIRT Dad Fund's Mission
The DIRT Dad Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)3 charitable organization created in January 2021 to support members of the virtual cycling community who need a financial Ride ON! The committee founded by Christopher Schwenker includes Jason Stern (DIRT Zwift Team co-founder), Tim Busick, and Pete Butler.
The DIRT Dad Fund’s mission is to harness the power of “The DIRT Effect” in assisting members of the virtual cycling community experiencing life challenges and financial hardship. The fund is subsidized through the generous support of its fundraising programs and allocating the proceeds of exclusive limited-edition DIRT branded merchandise.
Click here to learn more about The DIRT Dad Fund, and its recent acknowledgment by Zwift for the commitment to enhancing the virtual cycling community through a $5,000 grant!
The DIRT Dad Fund distributed $7,429 in financial aid in 2022 and a total of $11,409 since inception!
New for Spring 2023! The DIRT Dad Fund pb Pedal Industries design collection includes jerseys, bibs, tech tees, and signature Race Day bags! A portion of the proceeds goes to fund our initiatives, like support to members needing a financial “Ride On!” and the soon-to-be-launched annual scholarship program! Harness the power of The DIRT Effect to help our own!
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!