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Saturday bike ride to bring relief to families struggling with medical bills

April 13, 2019 GMT

Any parent knows that raising a child is hard work but adding a medical issue to the mix can make it expensive too. A Triangle bike ride this weekend will help raise money for families who need help paying medical bills.

At 6 years old, AJ Cropps can easily show you how good he is with writing and arithmetic, but it hasn’t always been that way.

“When we first started, he couldn’t hold a pencil and he couldn’t write,” AJ’s mother, Angela Cropps, said.

When the Cropps family went to Walt Disney World two years ago, AJ, at just 4 years old, heard the fireworks and bolted into the crowd. His parents said that’s when they knew they needed help.

“That’s the moment, right there, when he jetted, when he moved, it’s like we’ve got to do something,” AJ’s father Adrien Cropps said. “He couldn’t tell you what was happening. He would just have meltdowns.”

AJ was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and other developmental delays. Regular occupational therapy has made all the difference.

The Tour de Triangle bike ride helps families just like the Cropps. Money raised during the event benefits the United Healthcare Children’s Foundation, which delivers medical grants.

NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte is among those supporting the cause.

“It’s just a good way for us to be around some great people and bring awareness to helping families out here in the Triangle,” Labonte said.

AJ is now in kindergarten but doing first grade-level work. The Cropps used their grant money from United Healthcare to pay for additional therapy that helps AJ communicate and socialize.

“And it just helps to pay those bills and it takes that burden off of us so we don’t have at least that part to worry about,” Adrian Cropps said.

“The main thing is going to be the social integration with other kids and other peers that will always be there but he’ll be able to handle it on his own. He’ll get it,” Angela Cropps added.

The Tour de Triangle takes place Saturday morning at 8 a.m. The scenic ride ends at the Meadows and Firefly Farm Preserve in Raleigh and participants have the option of a 30- or 62-mile route.

Event organizers said they hope to raise $200,000.