Story by Hannah Webster
10-year-old Hunter loves to play outside, swim in the pool and climb on the firewood his dad chops on their property.
Hunter was born with a skeletal malformation that has resulted many surgeries, doctors appointments and hospital stays. Even through everything he has endured, his dad Kevin said he is amazed by his active son’s positive spirit.
“Hunter’s not just my son, he’s my best friend,” he said.
Hunter was granted a wish by Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina. His family lives on a large piece of property in Clayton, and Hunter wanted to be able to bike around. After some research by his family and Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina, the team found a company in Canada that makes custom hand-pedaled bikes. The team had a bike made that would fit Hunter through adulthood.
Hunter’s dentist, Dr. David Kornstein, who is an avid bike rider, and several of his colleagues, helped fund the custom bike because he was so inspired by Hunter’s spirit and positive nature. Performance Bicycle in North Raleigh put the custom pieces together. Hunter’s parents said he felt so special on his wish day. He had a wish party at the bike shop with family, friends and his donors.
“He was so shocked and surprised. He kept saying ‘is that mine?’” Hunter’s mom Debbie said.
“It would put a smile on any kid’s face,” Kevin said. “Make-A-Wish is so caring, and they make everybody feel like family.”
Since getting the bike, his family said Hunter has been practicing and can’t wait to venture off of their property this summer. They plan to take him on bike routes in Clayton and Smithfield. Because the bike will fit a person who weighs up to 300 pounds, his custom 21-speed bike will be a lifelong hobby for Hunter.
“Now that he’s really getting the hang of it, we’ll be able to take him down to the trail that runs down by the Neuse River,” Debbie said.
Debbie said she is thrilled he could also use the bike as transportation as an adult.
“He loves it,” Kevin said. “Now he’s waiting for me to pump the tires up on my bike, so we can go on a ride together. He has so much fun. He just thinks he's something else with his helmet on.”