Luke Adkins was born in December of 2021 and has a lot of personality. According to his mother, Grace, he can be the sweetest, most cuddly little guy one minute…. and then an absolute wild man the next. Luke loves bath time, playing with his monster trucks, watching Blue’s Clues, and dancing to music. He has two puppy dog sisters, Remi and Kimber, who love to keep him company.
At surface level, Luke sounds like your typical toddler. In reality, his story goes much deeper.
Prior to his birth, Luke’s parents had no idea he would be born with a tumor. At delivery, it was very obvious. The Adkins family stayed in the NICU for five days before being told the tumor was cancerous and that they would need outpatient follow-up.
“I still get teary-eyed recalling that day,” Grace said. “When Luke was 19 days old, he had his central line placed in his chest and received his first dose of chemotherapy.”
A few months after his birth, Luke had a disarticulation at the elbow. A disarticulation is different from an amputation. An amputation is when medical professionals cut through the bone, and a disarticulation is when the arm is taken apart at the joint. In growing kids, you cannot cut through the bones and must go at the growth plate.
Originally, the plan was to take Luke’s arm at his shoulder. But when Grace and Riley spoke with their medical team, they made the decision to attempt to shrink Luke’s tumor from the elbow joint and save the upper arm.
He had 12 weeks of chemo prior to his surgery and was just shy of four months old when they took the arm after successfully shrinking the tumor down away from the elbow enough. Luke had negative margins after the surgery, meaning they removed all of the cancer cells.
Post surgery, he received 4 more cycles of chemo, which made him terribly sick. Since he was immunocompromised, the Adkins family basically lived in a bubble for the first year of Luke’s life. Through these tough times, Luke and his parents stayed strong.
For the past few months, Luke has had clear scans and remains cancer-free. However, the Adkins family never lets their guard down knowing that there is always a possibility of Luke relapsing.
Grace found out about the Adaptive Strider Program through the Lucky Fin Project. She looked further into the program on Strider’s website and learned that all she would need to do is measure Luke’s “lucky fin” and fill out some information on the attached form. Once that was submitted, the process was slick. Strider’s Fabrication Specialist took the information that she had provided and within a week, a custom, one-of-a-kind bike had arrived at the Adkins’ doorstep for Luke to ride. This bike wasn’t your typical bike though, it was one that would fit him properly and be comfortable to ride.
Luke has just started taking interest in his bike and and his father, Riley, is stoked for the day his son will be able to shred alongside him.
“Riley is big into dirt bikes and motocross,” Grace said. “He races in the SECCA circuit, which are trails through the woods. Race day is an all-day affair, and the very first races are the ‘tadpoles’ which are little toddlers on Strider Bikes! Riley is absolutely beside himself wanting Luke to be able to go race his Strider with the tadpoles!”
Luke will still need to go in for scheduled checkups but as of now, his prognosis is good. The Adkins family is preparing for many happy and active years together!
Strider sees many “tadpole races” in Luke’s future and will be cheering him on every step of the way! Want to follow his journey? Check out @adventuresofluke on Facebook.