More than 100 gather for Isabel’s first bike

The Podratz family of New Prague, from left, dad Dean, son Isaiah, daughter Isabel, mom Ana and son Gabriel, gather around Isabel’s first bike on Saturday, May 6. (Patrick Fisher Photo)

The Podratz family of New Prague is a family that has faced the challenges of disability. They have met and exceeded their expectations of how to deal with it. They exceeded other expectations during a Saturday, May 6, fundraiser at Next Chapter Winery to help pay for a custom bike.

The bike is for Isabel Podratz, the 11 year old daughter and oldest child of Dean and Ana Podratz. Due to a stroke at age 3, Isabel has dealt with a movement disorder on the left side of her body, which has affected her left arm, hand, leg and foot.

Isabel and her brother Gabriel have Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT), a genetic disorder of the blood vessels, which affects one in 5,000 people. HHT can cause blood vessels to form that lack normal capillaries between an artery and vein. Arterial blood that is under high pressure can flow directly into a vein without first squeezing through very small capillaries. This area can be fragile and can rupture and bleed. HHT can also cause larger blood vessels called arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which can be in one or more organs. The Podratz’s other son Isaiah was also tested for HHT, but was found not to have the gene disorder.

Isabel and Gabriel have had surgeries to deal with AVMs, while Isabel has had surgeries to help the muscles on her left side improve. While she is an energetic girl, she has had her times when she has questioned the why and fairness of what’s happened to her.

Due to her disability, Isabel didn’t have a bike before May 6. She got a three wheel bike, one that is measured to fit. “I love it. I’m really looking forward to riding it with my family. It’s going to be fun. I’m really happy,” said Isabel about her new bike.

In getting the bike....

To see more on this story pick up the June 15, 2017 print edition of The New Prague Times.