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Boy with cerebral palsy leads cyclists from Longview

By: Randy Ross

"And a child shall lead them ...

As the Push America bicycle riders continued their Journey of Hope from Longview to Shreveport on Friday morning, a young boy with cerebral palsy led the way.

Shortly before leaving the Fairfield Inn, the team declared Austin Oliver, 10, of Gary an honorary team member and followed his lead out of Longview. Austin rode on an Amtryke, a tricycle propelled by arm motion that also stimulates leg muscles.

Austin's grandmother, Sherry Bush, said he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was about 3 months old. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, cerebral palsy is an umbrella-like term used to describe chronic disorders that develop within the first few years of life and impair movement control.

Bush said Austin attended physical therapy three times a week, and he often stays with her during the summer while his parents work. His former physical therapist, Sue Haywood, invented the Amtryke 19 years ago, and Longview Too Ambucs donated an Amtryke to Oliver three years ago.

Austin said the thought of starting the bicyclists on the next leg of their cross-country tour gave him butterflies in his stomach.

"They're pretty cool," he said."

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