Local News

Bike race helps families pay expensive medical bills

After insurance coverage runs out, many families face huge medical bills as they try to help their children fight medical issues or disabilities.

Posted Updated

Rick Armstrong
, WRAL multimedia journalist
NEW HILL, N.C. — Angela and Adrian Cropps discovered their young son AJ had a sensory processing disorder and motor skill delays and that he needed extensive occupational therapy.

"When we first started, he was going twice a week," said Angela Cropps. "Insurance is great, but he got a certain number of [occupational therapy sessions] and he needed more."

Eventually, the family hit their coverage limit and the therapy was no longer affordable.

"We don’t qualify for other assistance or anything, so to be able to apply for this grant and to be able to get it, is very helpful," Cropps said. "This grant is helpful to those who are in the middle class."

Since 2007, UHCCF has awarded more than 23,000 grants valued at $51 million to children and their families across the United States.

The Cropps' son, AJ, is a leader in the bike race events, despite his condition. He led a field of 50 cyclists past the starting line last April. The event led to a fundraising total of $140,000 to help families and their children.

Now, AJ is an ambassador for United Healthcare.

His mom says he wouldn't be the cyclist he is today without the grant program and the extra therapy sessions. "He’s so independent and doing things on his own," Cropps said. "It’s been really helpful."

The success of annual Spring bike rallies have been a key fundraiser for United Healthcare. This year, the "2020 Tour de Triangle" had to reschedule to comply with restrictions and guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

The event is now scheduled for Sept. 13 in New Hill at Shady Wagon Farm. The Cropps family said they hope the change in season won’t hurt participation and donations, but they're optimistic for September's race.


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