The Iowa City community lifts up Bella Perez in her pursuit to win the Great Bike Giveaway.

Laura Perez said her daughter Bella has entered the Great Bike Giveaway for three consecutive years in hopes of winning a Van Raam OPair — an adaptive bicycle that would allow her to travel farther distances outdoors.

Bella Arenas-Pérez is a fourth-grade student at Christine Grant Elementary School in Iowa City who enjoys learning new languages, creating art, and playing with her younger brother Samuel.

As a toddler, Bella was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a motor disorder that impacts her ability to move and speak.

“The Van Raam OPair would help Bella and our family because we could go places where we cannot go outdoors. She has an adaptive bike now, but she cannot go very far on it,” Perez said. “We are hoping we can get this so I can ride with her and she can go outdoors with her brother. As a family, we could be outdoors together much more.”

The Van Raam OPair is an adaptive bicycle that can transport a wheelchair user. The bike’s front — which can separate from the rest of the structure for use as a wheelchair — is a seat secured to the bike’s back end.

Although Bella has entered the Great Bike Giveaway on two other occasions, Perez said she has slightly fallen short on winning the bike both times.

Perez added there are a few different ways an entrant can win a bike.

“The first way to win is if you earn 50 or more votes, you can enter into a drawing. Another way is if you have the most votes of all entrants, then you can win. The last way is you can raise the money for the specific bike you want,” she said. “We are asking people to vote and share. Even though we have not asked for money, people have donated, and that’s great because that money still goes to a good place.”

Suppose the contestant with the highest number of votes has raised enough money to fund a bicycle. In that case, the person with the next most votes will also win a bike, Perez added.






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