CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — A Centerville family’s TV appearance turned into something none of them were expecting.
The Monnins thought they were doing an interview with the TODAY show to detail their journey with Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA, but what the family got was much more than a national TV debut.
“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it,” says mother Nora Monnin.
Her daughters, nine-year-old Maggie and eight-year-old Charlie have been living with the rare genetic muscle disorder with since they were very young. For the sisters, certain types of movement can sometimes be difficult, and the family has always been looking for ways to ease mobility.
Several weeks ago, the Monnins connected with another SMA family and they were put on a waiting list for electronic bikes. Little did they know, their wait would be fast-tracked.
During their TODAY show interview, they were surprised with two electric bikes for Maggie and Charlie, thanks in part to Jason Kraft, owner of an electric bike shop In Pennsylvania.
“Before you got off the couch you were almost in tears,” father Scott Monnin describes, who was in on the surprise. “I had to keep it secret. And I almost slipped a couple of times.”
“I was very very surprised. It was awesome. I saw all of my family friends and I saw the bikes and that was pretty amazing,” says Maggie.
The girls already had two wheels with their wheelchairs, but now, three times the charm with the trikes, helping to ease mobility and allowing them to bike ride with their friends.
“I can take a walk with my friends and not have to ride in my wheelchair. I can ride a bike with them,” smiles Charlie.
The family was in shock over the surprise, full of emotion, and at a loss for words.
“We can’t thank them enough. This is amazing–an opportunity I never expected for our girls,” says Nora.
“There’s lots of kid that come biking through here–Parks and the pool is right around the corner. And the girls often pop up over the top of this couch and look through the window and see their friends cruising by. This summer, this spring, our kids are going to be on the other side of that window now,” says Scott.