One 11-year-old’s desire to help his best friend pays off in big ways

Ramon Balderas-Soto, left, and Mark Boncich ride together

Ramon Balderas-Soto, left, and Mark Boncich ride together

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DENVER -- It started as one 11-year-old trying to help another.

When Mark Boncich got an opportunity to learn a skill many of us take for granted, he wanted to share it with his best buddy, Ramon Balderas-Soto.

But there was a problem about how to pay for the $300 iCan Bike program.

So our problem solvers stepped in to help.

"Oh gosh, when they get together all you hear is laughter. No matter what mood you're in, it just puts a smile on your face," says Ramon’s mom, Vionna Soto-Balderas.

The 11-year-olds are best friends--both battle disabling disorders.

Ramon has Wolfram Syndrome and there is no cure.

"He's a happy, great, happy kid. We think about that, instead of, what if," says Vionna.

For Mark, it's a neurological speech disorder called Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).

Both affect balance and make riding a bike on two wheels difficult.

"We had done a lot of research, and looked at how we could get him on a bike at home. Nothing worked. So he got to go to camp and he's on two wheels now, which is a huge feat," says Mark’s mom, Jenny.

It's something Ramon now wants to learn too.

"He loved his adult tricycle. He was really excited. He rode it every year. This year has changed a lot. He's been seeing his younger brothers and sisters riding on two-wheels," says Vionna.

So Mark wants to help Ramon.

He created a GoFundMe page to raise the money for iCan Bike camp in Highlands Ranch next week.

"I am so happy. I say thanks to him," says Ramon.

But Problem Solvers wanted to make sure Ramon graduated from his three-wheels to two and paid for the camp.

"So here is your certificate for your registration and we're really excited you get to learn how to ride your bike next week," says Summer Aden, with Highland Ranch Community Association.

One problem solved.

But Ramon still needs a bike to ride.

"Oh my gosh, Ramon. You get a bike," says his mom, after Second Chance Bike Shop offers up two free bikes for Ramon to choose from. "The blue one, that is what you want?” asks his mom. “Thank you," says Ramon.

He also gets a helmet and a lock and cable--not to mention a big hug from his best bud.

"I think it’s a rite of passage in childhood that children get to ride bikes and be kids. I think people with disabilities want to be like everybody else," says Jenny.

And it all started with one 11-year-old wanting to share the joy of trading in his three-wheeler for two.

Ramon's GoFundMe page will stay online and any donations will be given to other children with disabilities who want to learn to ride a bike.

The iCan Bike program also needs volunteers to help during its camp next week. The group needs about 100 volunteers. For more information contact Summer Aden at the Highlands Ranch Community Association, which hosts the camp. Her number is 303-471-7043 or you can send her an email.

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